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I love Zambia.  No, really I do.  But sometimes, stuff happens that makes you question the economical imbalance of this country, and what they think of us.  Can you imagine being in a club in Lagos and not hearing a Naija song?  Maybe it happens but because they have a thriving nightlife you can easily just avoid those spots if you choose.

Last Friday, I was out with 10 girlfriends celebrating one of our girlfriend’s achievement (emancipation I say), and after a great dinner at Urban Yard (their pizza is so good!), we decided we wanted to go dancing, and the girlfriend said she wanted to go to Capones.

I had been there two weeks previously, with a friends, including a former MP, and we were in the VIP area.   We had a bottle of wine and a couple of beers, and left soon after because we were tired.

So Friday, I called the owner and told him we wanted to be in the VIP, was that all good?  Yep, he said, no problem.

Well the problems started as soon as we sat down.  First of all, those chairs are the most uncomfortable chairs ever – it’s a struggle to get out of them, so you end up having to sit on the edge and even then…

Then the waitress comes – we order a bottle of wine and some cocktails.  Nope, she says, ‘you need to order a bottle of champagne or bottle of whisky if you want to sit here’.  No and no I say.  Let me speak to the manager I insist.

End up arguing with the manager, and I was ‘like this is ridiculous, I was here two weeks ago and ordered wine.  Imma call your boss’ and he was like – whatever, fine – have your wine.

I still text the boss who was like ‘yes that’s the rule’, despite the fact that a month previously he had told my girlfriend and I that people had it all wrong about VIP, “you don’t need to order a bottle just call ahead”.  Yeah he thinks I was too drunk to remember! LOL.

Anyway, he sends me a text saying “Relax, be a lover not a fighter, life is so sweet’.  Sexist much?  I was livid.  I would have left there and then except the girls were having fun and the wine had been ordered.

But we just couldn’t do the chairs so moved out of VIP.  Where we had way more fun… for a minute.

The music started out ok, then it got to be like ‘really?  We’re in Zambia, Africa, can we get some Zambian, or even African music?’.  I think I requested it 3 times at the DJ booth.  When JK, Slap Dee, CQ walked in, I thought, oh maybe now we’ll get local music since these artists are here – isn’t that what they do in normal places?   Gosh, what was I thinking – this is Zambia!

At this point I’m just furious at the whole thing – why am I here?  I asked myself.  I look around at the crowd (and there was a lot of them) of dark faces, and wondered why any of us were there.  I asked Slap – why are you in a place that won’t support local music?

I’m sure they all thought I was drunk and angry – ok the angry part I was.  Angry because I felt I had been treated like a ‘little’ girl from the moment I walked in and I was just done with it at that point – I suppose being with the former MP helped last time, probably thinking we were his girlfriends.  I’m just not about that life – at all.  I’m not a little girl, don’t talk to me like one, and don’t treat me like one.  And make your damn policy clear so that we can choose where and how we want to spend our money.

I’m sure everyone has had a different experience of Capones, and yes I know that I can be sensitive about ish, but I decided that night that I wasn’t spending any more of my money there – it won’t make a difference in their books, but I’ll feel better about it.  Now I just need to find a new spot to go dancing… or open my own joint (one day).

So this has been long coming!  Each year I try to sum up my year with some reflections, and thoughts for the new year.  This year I thought I’d do that while I was laying on the beach in Koh Samet, Thailand, sipping on a cocktail, counting my blessings.  Alas I was busy still doing work – but on the beach in Koh Samet, so I can’t be too mad!

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2016 was an interesting year for me – perhaps a year I entered into a different cycle of my life.  I ended the year completely burnt out but definitely worth it.  While 2016 was a ‘surviving’ year for most, it was a challenging year for me.

At the beginning of 2016, if you recall I blogged about this, I decided it was time to believe in myself more and push myself to do things that scared me.  At that point I had already been toying with the idea of launching a female led talkshow.   I wanted to give women a voice, I wanted to actively engage in dialogue that contributed to the development of the country and our lives, and I wanted to show that women can and do support each other.

There were many times in that process of developing the show that I wanted to quit – it was scary, not easy, not to mention costly.  But I told people about it, knowing they would hold me accountable to ensure it happened.  And it did!

The show was quoted in the Daily Mail, and now it’s airing on Zambezi Magic – across the region.  My heart literally stopped as I thought about that – people outside of Zambia are seeing my face and listening to what I have to say… it is surreal.

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But that was just the beginning of the year!

Loads of work in the middle of the year, and then my most challenging work fell squarely on my lap – Our Perfect Wedding Zambia.  The project that gave me sleepless nights and exhausted me (and had me looking like a homeless person).  Adapt the hugely popular South African show, how hard could it be?!

Hmmm.  Let me back track a bit.  The set-up of our company is usually myself and Mary write the proposal, secure the deals and client manage.  Tasha does the research and insights.  Freddy is the creative lead – he directs and produces.  We still work on the creative side inputting in character development, script, wardrobe, art direction etc.  But in a very basic way that’s the make-up.

So after writing the proposal, doing the pitch, we win the bid!  Great.  Just one small problem; Freddy is unable to direct or produce the show.  Probably the obvious decision would have been to hire someone to direct.

I like to think of myself as a business person, I looked at the numbers and realized it would be pointless for us to do this show if we hire a director.  I’d just produced and semi-directed (ha!) a talk show, how hard could a 4-day reality shoot be?

Famous last words.

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I like to surround myself with people who are good at what they do but also people I can work with.  There were a lot of people in the industry who I thought had bad attitudes and who I just couldn’t imagine doing a 52-day shoot with.  So I chose a crew I thought I could work with, mainly young up-and coming and hungry.

No one had shot a reality show before, or one of this nature.  In fact client expectations were to exceed even what the South Africa’s were doing, the pressure was immense.

I’m pretty sure I spent a lot of time crying and wishing I could quit!  But quitters don’t win and winners don’t quit.

When I wasn’t shooting, I was in editing mode.  It was non-stop.  And pleasing the client was even harder.  Some of our seasoned editors were also suffering, getting the format right was hard on everyone.

The season is coming to an end and while I can definitely agree there were some bad episodes, there were also some amazing stories and great couples – it almost made me believe in love again! LOL.

I did learn though that maybe hunger wasn’t enough, on certain projects you have no choice but to put personal differences aside and bring in the best people for the job, at least close enough to the best (though not sure they would have done it for the budget).   However, because of the attitude of some of the crew, I know I will be working with them for time to come, because at the end of the day, attitude is so important in getting ahead and moving past mediocrity.  The ones who chose to be unprofessional, well those are their career choices.

I was then fortunate to get away for 10 days to experience the sights and sounds of Thailand.  It was exactly what I needed.  I didn’t get to consciously do the reflections I needed but I think the downtime, the rest and recovery allowed my mind to settle, clear out the noise and focus.

There were things I wanted to do last year that I never got to do, my experience last year proved that anything is possible, so this year I plan on soaring, trusting in myself – in God – and taking that next step to greatness.  We can all achieve it if we believe!

Have a great 2017!  (I won’t even promise to blog more because… well life gets in the way, and I’m busy on my grind and living my life!)

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I feel like 2015 was a pivotal year for me. It brought so many lessons and learnings for me.

Sometimes, we don’t always like the lesson or what it’s teaching us, and it can be painful to have to go through it at the time. But when you come out the other side, you appreciate the process. Life is not always going to be easy – no one has ever said it will.

December is the perfect month to reflect on the year’s experiences, to help in your growth and preparation for the next year.   I have always been the type of person who chooses self-reflection to help me be a better person, always aware that we can only be responsible for ourselves.

This year I’ve realized I’ve made lots of bad decisions, decisions made at the expense of myself, my happiness, my joy, my ambitions, in order to accommodate other’s happiness. Under ordinary circumstances I wouldn’t think this is a bad thing, but sometimes, it’s equally important to say no, and to put yourself first.

2016 isn’t about me not giving of myself the opportunity to make others happy when I can, but rather ensuring I’m taking care of myself, so that I can have those opportunities to give to others.

The aim is to live a life without regrets, so though so many things I wanted didn’t happen in 2015, I don’t want to dwell on what wasn’t but rather focus on making 2016 be the best year for me. With my cheerleaders around, I think it’s very possible to make that happen – just takes learning to say yes to myself first, and not to doubt my abilities.

I’m looking forward to a very different year and I hope you’ll carry on being part of my journey.

Have a great, fun-filled, prosperous and exciting 2016!

 

Stay Blessed!

Life throws us lemons, we’ve all had that moment where the lemons came at a time you least expected it. Maybe there was more going on than you could handle. They say when life throws you lemons you should make lemonade (or margaritas as I prefer), but sometimes you can’t figure out how to make the lemonade… or quite frankly, you don’t want to.

Sometimes it’s easier to just wallow in the misery, but the reality is that it doesn’t really help. Sure it’s nice in the moment, you feel sorry for yourself, lie under the duvet watching bad day time TV and adding lemon concentrate to your vodka and tonic, or whatever your poison might be. But nothing good can come from this.

And then you look around you, who is there to support you when the lemons are coming at you? The people who surround you should be your cheerleaders and lift you up. If the people around you don’t have your best interest, they won’t be here for you now and you need to know it’s ok to cut them off. Ok maybe it’s not that simple. When I say cut them off, I mean just know what they’re there for – they don’t have your back, and they don’t need to. And that’s ok. You came into the world alone. It’s not nice to be alone, it’s lonely. It’s scary, and it’s kinda depressing. But it makes you have to trust yourself and rely on your self. Nothing makes you stronger than realising you have to go through the good and the bad by yourself. It’s obviously better when you have someone you can trust and share your fears with, but not everyone is blessed with that. And focusing on that can be just as upsetting as the lemons you’re already dealing with.

So back to the option of a duvet day. It’s not a great idea. But don’t be so hard on yourself. Take each day as it comes. Day one can be a duvet, wallow in my own misery day. Day two, you get up, get dressed, and show up. When we start looking at things differently we start seeing options. And that’s really what makes lemons into lemonades, seeing the options that you have.

Once you realise you have options, you realise it’s not that bad after all. In those dark hours, it really does seem hopeless and that there is no way out, but after the rain the sun does come out, you just have to weather it out.

I also find that at these times exercise and focusing on something completely different will help your mood.

(I do write these blogs based on my own experiences and what I go through, so that my experiences and the lessons I learn will help others, and I think voicing out what I feel, helps me reflective, learn, and move on).

The Heroes and Unity Day holidays should have been a great way to relax – we just wrapped a seven week shoot for Love Games season 2, already fully packaged and edited the first six episodes, so it’s been intense.

But the long weekend became an opportunity for reflection. It started good, had a double baptism for my friend’s kids, as well as a panel on Lusaka Social Media Day. Both were great events. The baptism was great for family and friends to get together and just chill, no drama, no stress, and I got to cook for people who love my food (I only made salads and desserts, but still :)). Then I had to run across town (changed from 6 inch Calvin Klien heels, to even more comfy 6 inch H&M wedges!) to attend my panel at the Lusaka Social Media Day organized by C1rca 1964 and Bongo Hive. That was really exciting too. I got to talk about my social media experience, especially on how I use twitter as me, as my own brand, and my company, as that brand. I wish I’d been able to stay longer as it really looked like a great opportunity to share experiences and learn a lot. I know I’ve definitely learnt a lot on using twitter from my former colleagues Julia and Ben, so would have enjoyed learning more. I look forward to the next LskSMDay! Or more events from Bongo Hive and C1rca 1964. It did get me thinking about some of our own events that we’ll be doing soon – starting with our Love Games special screening for press in a week or so ahead of the TV premiere of season two.

Unfortunately on Monday – Heroes Day, while working on my fro, I got some sad news – Dominic Mulaisho had passed away in the early hours of the morning. Our families have had a long history together – four sets of siblings are all friends – with the youngest child Francesca, being one of my close friends, we even used to stay together in London. He was also a close close friend of my father, only the night before he’d called my father to check in on him, a call he made at least every two weeks, helping to keep my father in good spirits during his own illness.

Dominic Mulaisho is a great part of Zambia’s history, in both the political and the arts fields. He was the economic advisor to our first president Dr Kenneth Kaunda, and former Bank of Zambia governor. He also authored a few books, notably The Tongue of the Dumb, probably one of the first post colonial books to get international attention.

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So, as sad as it is that he has passed on, it also felt appropriate that he passed on Heroes Day, as he should be remembered as a hero.

Whenever someone in my life passes away, I am reminded that life is really short. We always think that we have time to do everything we want and we prioritize things that might not mean that much in the long run. Don’t get me wrong, I love my work, I love the grind, and I don’t regret any of my career choices. But sometimes I remember that I forget to stop and smell the flowers.

Even yesterday, I sat at home thinking that four years ago today, I buried my brother. Four years. It’s still a painful memory, yet, I was so wrapped up in my own issues that I completely forgot. It’s bad enough that I don’t remember the exact day he died (I was on the other side of the world, taking two days to get back for the funeral), that I only remember the day we buried him – I think it’s a mental block for me.

Time is something we can’t get back, and it’s something we really don’t have a lot of. How we use it defines what we is important to us. It’s not that you can’t do it all, or have it all, it’s just about ensuring that your soul is happy, so that when it’s all said and done you can say, I lived a life I enjoyed.
We’ve entered the second half of the year, and it’s time to reflect on what you want in life, to have a fulfilled life. What changes and decisions you need to make to include more positivity in your life and rid yourself of toxins. Don’t be afraid to be selfish and put yourself first. The reality is that if you don’t put yourself first, don’t expect others too. Being selfish doesn’t mean treating others badly or unfairly, but just ensuring that you are being good to yourself and your spirit first.

This week will be a tough week, hard for my dad, hard for my friends, but we have to be strong, remember those we’ve lost for the positive influence they’ve had on us, and use their legacy to shape our future – to live life to the fullest and impact and touch the lives of the people around us.

Have a good week and go out and make yourself happy!

They say you’re only as good as your last success, so as we get close to wrapping the shoot of Love Games and it’s subsequent broadcast date of July 17th, I think, what next?

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It could also be my insatiable desire for successes that never allows me to be complacent, and to be constantly challenging myself regarding what to do next.

Love Games has been a great run – if you’re a regular reader of my blog, or avid follower on twitter, you’ll know that it came not without it’s own challenges. Challenges that cost us – economically, as well as spiritually! It also allowed us to see people’s true colours – really in business not everyone is your friend despite what you think! But we learned, and season two has gone far more smoothly, and while we’re still over budget, it’s not ridiculously over budget – it’s a much more expected and manageable (in theory) amount. While I’m happy with the way it looks, I wonder how the audience will feel about it, it’s such a different feel to it. But I’m proud of it, so guess that’s more important.

Back to my ‘what next’ dilemma. Sometimes in life you have to give up this to move ahead. In our case that means downsizing. Perhaps we did it too early anyway. There’s a lot of lessons learnt in running your own business, it’s not all glamourous, it’s a lot of late nights, hardwork, and huge responsibilities – not only to ensuring that you meet your legal obligations but also taking care of your staff. I recall someone visiting the office and saying that the way the boss sleeps, is different from the employees. And it’s so true I’m sure. Our stresses are definitely different.

So all these considerations are necessary when making the decision of what to do next. But in life, as my better half says, ‘courage is doing what you are scared of’. We operate in a state of fear of the unknown, sometimes crippling us to make decisions and incapacity to actually move.

The problem is that you don’t know what the outcome will be, until you try. I feel like I’m coming full circle – back to the beginning – which is scary. But I’ve learnt a lot of lessons, which will help me build an even more successful brand, as scary as it is, you have to dust yourself up and keep it moving, what do you have to lose?

I am looking forward to make next step, even if on the surface it looks like a step back, as it should put me a position to take a giant leap forward! I can’t be afraid of the future, and I can only look back to reflect on lessons learnt but not dwell on it.

Wish me luck and I’ll keep you posted!

I’ve now been in Zambia for two years – well it will be two years next month, boy does time fly fast! I’m still getting used to both the way of life and the way people work here.

Zambia is an interesting place. We’ve suffered no real conflict since we gained our independence in 1964. While political leaders may have overstayed their use in power, by and large all our elections have been peaceful with power handover being free from any violence or unrest. This seems to be a good thing. But perhaps it talks to the passive nature we have as a people.

Most people I have met in Zambia are very laid back, hoping that somehow the work will do itself, and we’ll get paid for doing next to nothing, and one day we’ll be rich and financial secure. Sigh, if only.

Zambia operates as a cash based society, though most companies operate with a 30-45 day payment policy. The problem being that it’s a vicious cycle, clients have to pay, so that you can pay your suppliers, so they can pay their employees, so they can pay their employees and their kids school fees and so on and so on. When any part of that chain doesn’t work, it screws someone.

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If you’re an up and coming company you don’t really have the cashflow to deal with late payments. The banks don’t extend credit unless you’re giving them something in exchange – i.e. cash or property to secure an overdraft or facility (zero risk for the bank, yet you still get charged a hefty interest fee), so if your clients don’t pay you, it puts you in a tricky situation.

This was a situation we found ourselves in the last month or so, our clients just weren’t paying and we couldn’t pay all our suppliers.

The first thing that I felt was huge embarrassment. There is nothing worse than not being able to pay your bills. It makes you feel almost like a failure, how did you not manage your cashflow, why are the client’s not paying, and not to mention the sleepless nights.

Then I started to talk to more experienced business owners, who asked me one question, what can you do about it? The reality was nothing. You can’t control when the clients pay, you can hope to manage your cashflow better – which you do learn – and you have to communicate with your suppliers.

At the end of day repeat business is better and cheaper than looking for new business. So you too want to manage your client relationships. Suppliers sadly to say are easier to replace, every day there is someone vying for new business. I’d prefer to keep my suppliers happy but when they too decide that they’re not interested in you as a client and treat you that way, why would you bother sticking to doing business with them once you’ve paid them?

I’ve talked about this many times – building relationships for long term growth – but I find it’s a recurring issue when doing business in Zambia, people just don’t value that relationship. It works even with friends and family you have credit terms with. As long as you sell a product, regardless of who the person is, you have to engage them as a customer and aim for repeat business.

Sadly most people don’t realise this. Today, I decided to stop buying shoes from someone who was supplying me. I don’t for one second doubt this doesn’t bother her, yet now she’ll have to find someone else willing to spend the x amount (:0) I was paying every time she brought shoes. Again I’m not doubting she will eventually find someone, but rather than adding to her bottom line, she now has to find more clients to keep her bottom line as it is now. But again, I doubt she’ll realise this or care right now.

This is how I feel about other suppliers who no longer enjoy our business – was the disregard for the company worth the loss of business? Perhaps it was worth it for them, but I know that when I’m dealing with my clients I swallow my pride a lot because my bottom line is worth it to me. I want my company to be here not only tomorrow but in 20 odd years and then some.

And when it comes to suppliers, I take the American stance, I simply refuse to deal with terrorists! It is never the intention of good businesses to not pay people or suppliers, sometimes ish beyond your control happens. And happens to all growing businesses. What is important is your word, which is why in situations like this communication is super important. Keeping everyone abreast of the situation helps, though not everyone cares for this, they just want to get paid! But what you going to do?

Then the hard decisions also come in to play. As a business that started really small, (we’re still small, just growing), we got to where we are because of hardwork and determination yes, but also because of the faith other bigger organizations had in us, this is something we’d like to pass on to smaller companies trying to come up. But if they can’t afford to give you the 45 days credit terms we need for cashflow management, does that mean we don’t work with them, and don’t give them the opportunity to grow too?

I guess there are other businesses out there more established, who can give the small businesses coming up the cash they also need to grow. Ultimately as business leaders, we always have to put the needs of the businesses first, regardless of the sacrifice – well, depending on your end goal.

These days it’s hard to blog about work because I can’t breach confidentiality and pretty much everything I’m working on is confidential – or by discussing it I might seem to be disrespecting someone or an organisation (I had a meeting with ZNBC yesterday that shocked me so much, but can’t talk about it, cos I need to work with them, so don’t want to feel offended).

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So I decided to blog about relationship issues that I’ve been observing here – and to be fair, I’ve been a party to it too, but thinking about my friends, watching Think Like A Man, I wanted to get this off my chest.

I’ve gone to several kitchen parties, baby showers, weddings etc since I’ve been back in Zambia, but what I’m hard pressed to find are truly happy couples. In fact I was slightly taken aback when at my last all women’s event, the mainly married women were talking about how they didn’t have passwords to their husbands phones, but the kids did, so they were using the kids as spies to find out if their husbands were sending or receiving inappropriate messages! What?!

They talked about it like it was so normal. Why on earth would I want to be with a partner I didn’t trust? Perhaps in other ways the man is making her a happy woman (in her soul, not physically).

Each relationship is different so I don’t judge when people stay in bad or unhealthy relationships, because we’ve all been there. But it does make me wonder, why would you do that to yourself?

Well I guess it’s like what Steve Harvey says, you have to have standards and you have to have self-respect.

Some of these women seem like proper Type A women – they have senior positions in their companies, real position of power, and they make their own money. Professionally they have self-respect and standards – they must have or they wouldn’t have got as far as they did. But something falls apart when it comes to relationships.

I blame it on the societal pressure. We’re women in Zambia, a country that looks down on you as a woman, let alone a single woman. I’ve walked into countless meetings where I have been blatantly ignored and disrespected because of being a woman, and more so a woman without a ring on her finger. Yet I might be the more senior figure in that room.

It’s a constant battle to walk that fine line of being strong enough as a woman without coming out like an aggressive wannabe male figure. So I can understand the urge to want to come home and be a woman, a woman who has a strong man by her side to take care of her – not because she needs to be taken care of, but because she wants to be.

But we put up with a lot just to have that man in our life. And is it really worth it? This morning my ipod decided to play Ciara’s Like A Boy and I was really listening to the lyrics.

‘What if I had a thing on the side, made you cry
Would the rules change up or would they still apply
If I played you like a toy?
Sometimes I wish I could act like a boy’

Or my personal favourite ‘Tell you I love you but when you call, I never get back’

Sadly despite what Ciara sings, I just don’t think a man can comprehend the pain women go through caring for someone who simply doesn’t care about them. In fact switch up the roles as suggested in Ciara’s song and the labels attached to the woman are anything but flattering.

But yet we still stay in relationships that do nothing for our soul. Sometimes it does seem hard to identify bad relationships – i.e. he doesn’t beat me, he doesn’t cheat on me etc – but it’s the little things isn’t it? That’s what having standards is about, standards and self-respect.

Why do we think it’s ok that a man can make you cry, not value your time, just because he says those three words us women love to hear? If you’re not important enough to have a call returned, your time respected, your commitment valued, what are you saying about yourself?

Sometimes being alone does not mean being lonely, it means having enough standards and self-respect to wait for the person that will value you and treat you like the queen you are to come into your life.

We all know this, one day we’ll listen and do it – then maybe you’ll have Kings stepping to you, to make you his Queen.

So I’ve never thought of myself as a social marketing anything, let alone a guru (but I like the sound of guru, might throw the term around a bit to see if it sticks 🙂 ), but the lovely lady from Diasporan Darlings decided that that was a deserving title for me in a new interview they did. I’ve posted the first few questions, but to read the full interview do go here

Ex-diasporan, Catherine Ndashe Phiri is part of an emerging group of creative Zambians who have returned home to change the Zambian creative industry. It’s often an industry that is undervalued and highly criticized in most African countries, yet it’s an industry that exudes hope; requires hard work and the ability to ignore scathing (warranted and unwarranted) critique.

For someone who was the former Vice President of MTV International’s Social Responsibility, Cathy’s decision to resign from MTV and return to Zambia to focus on the company she started with her siblings (Media 365 Zambia), was a little startling. She spoke to Diasporan Darlings about her reasons for leaving and whether she has had any regrets.

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DD: You have a blog at http://www.cathyphiri.com which we have unashamedly read from beginning to end. It’s a very honest journal about your journey from London (quitting MTV) to arriving in Lusaka and the various issues you have had to deal with. What have been the benefits of having that blog?

CP: I love to write first and foremost. I started that blog when I was making the decision to leave MTV, not really sure what to do next. The blog was inspired by Paulo Coelho’s book, “The Alchemist”. You know how it is, you read a book at a particular phase in your life and it just makes sense, this is how I felt about The Alchemist, I was looking for my personal legend. Once I got back to Zambia, I carried on blogging as it was a good outlet for me to deal with the challenges of relocating to a country I hadn’t lived in for eight years.

I try not to look at the numbers, I don’t write for my ego, so it’s always great when someone comments on the blog, especially when I’ve posted some of my low points and get an encouraging word from someone. A blog is also great for your brand. I try not to go too personal, but use it as a platform to share insights from my experience here to inspire change and also provoke some issues from our industry.

DD: You attribute your move home to wanting more of a work-life balance (particularly wanting to spend more time with your family). How is it for you now to work, play and live with your family? What aspects would you change ?

CP: I absolutely love my work-life balance! I do love every minute of it, but being an entrepreneur is not easy. When I had a job, I didn’t really have much to worry about knowing I’d get paid at the end of the month. But as an entrepreneur, running your own business with staff, every day you have to think about how am I going to pay my staff, my overheads etc. If I could change anything I might have saved a lot more before my move to ensure I didn’t have any financial stress for at least a couple of years. But other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Oh well maybe I would have bought a house here before I moved back, I love my parents, but being a 30-something year old who still has her parents give her outfit a disapproving glance can be irritating! Sometimes I wear outfits ridiculously short just to annoy them. But really I love my family and parents so just happy to be around them.

DD: We love the strength and honesty that comes from you through your blog and tweets. Especially when talking about being a businesswoman in Lusaka, in the creative industry. What challenges as an ex-diasporan do you deal with on a daily basis that you didn’t deal with as a corporate Exec in London?

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To find out what I said to this question – and for the rest of the article, go to Diasporan Darlings to read the full interview.

Once again, thanks for the support!

I was thinking about hate and this pull him down syndrome we have in Zambia. When I refer to hate I generally mean the act of being jealous of someone’s talent or success.

Now that I’ve cleared that up let me get back to my thoughts on this. I understand hate. Today was a real eye opener for me, after I got so upset about someone who I’ve known for a really long time, tell me that our show Love Games isn’t having an impact because no one is talking about it or watching it. I was really hurt because I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not the best product, but it’s definitely a lot better than what is currently on TV. Now that isn’t a reason for us to rest on our laurels, as I’ve said time and time again, we must always be doing better than our last work, so that’s why I appreciate the feedback good and bad. But sometimes the bad is just hater speech.

Our deepest fear

Anyway, back to my point. After I calmed down I thought about this some more and I thought abut the people I surround myself with and the people I’ve come up with. Imagine you all start out together. But a few years later, someone in your group – maybe more than one – is much more successful than you – maybe not financially, maybe through reputation, or education attainment, or happy family, whatever it might be that you find lacking in your own life. You can either be happy for their success or be bitter with hate.

Too often people choose bitter with hate. And when you explore the reasons it is because of something they are lacking in their own life. I’ve been there so I understand. I have these great friends, who are really successful in their lives, one recently was in Forbes Most Powerful African Women under 40 – I mean, what an achievement! Another started a new website that has made waves and headlines – another trendsetter to watch! And here I am in my lil corner in small Zambia. It would be easy for me to hate on their success – maybe they know a writer at Forbes, or she’s not that clever she ripped an idea or she slept with someone, or whatever other lame excuse haters find to bring someone down. But instead, these women inspire me. They inspire me to keep on doing what I do because we all have to start somewhere (and I have a few more years in me before I hit the big Four O).

But more importantly I’m proud of my achievements – they might not mean anything to anyone else, or deserve recognition from the public and the media – but I worked really hard, and still see the distance I still have to go to achieve the success that I want. And even more so I’m proud of these amazing friends of mine, who I surround myself with, who are doing incredible things in their lives, paving the way for other little brown girls to say, I can do it too! Why would I want to hate on that?

After having this thought on haters, I decided that I’m no longer going to give any thought or mind to them – I mean I rarely did but occasionally one managed to break into my thoughts – like today. The more we focus or even pay mind to them the more it perpetuates the cycle. If each one of us would focus on the positive, surely we could end this talk of haters – we’re just giving life to them. So that’s my conscious decision is to focus on the positive, surround myself with my supporters, and cheerleaders (they really help), and keep doing me. I hope you choose to do the same today, because it’s time to let our light shine.