a deep belief of mine is that, to make the best of anything takes time, especially when that some thing is heavily reliant on the quality of relationships you build. for sivan, owner of afriek, success is tied to how well she and her team can hold space for difference.
sivan started afriek in 2013 and ever since i discovered her brand, i continue to be inspired by the way she constantly reinvents her self in the way she approaches the world of business.
here, a conversation on the gospel truth of the song ‘when you believe’ by mariah carey and whitney houston, learning to focus on the wins and the impact of meditation. the gems she dropped left me feeling like, indeed, we are moving mountains long before we know we can.
Narrated by gem
i think i have a pretty masculine approach to getting things done. pushing hard, making things happen, being really confident in what needs to be done & how it needs to be done which i feel i’ve always had more of than feminine energy. both naturally & also because of what was required as a business owner. you look at the people who support you, who might be men who do it according to their logic which is driven by things like, how much money is there? structure, deadlines— all very calculative. at some point i was focused on getting really good at that because i think it’s necessary. but one thing i’ve learned recently, which brings out the more feminine part of me, & which is super essential in business, is the intuition & connectedness with the heart that allows for running an intuitive business. i see that as a super power— really listening to myself & giving myself the space, not rushing for the deadline but really saying, let me take a step back. how am i feeling, what’s the direction i need to go in & then setting goals by using the mind as a tool & the heart as the guide.
this is my most important pursuit— seeing how i can marry the two in a loving relationship while being respectful to each other with the context of upbringing & history. i’m focusing especially on the listening part. for me , that’s how i see this business— like an experiment of how can we actually do it in the right way? i’m constantly confronted with new things where i’m not understanding what my team is saying or vice versa. how i’m doing this is through a lot of conversations because it goes beyond just culture, it’s also about managing different personalities, similar to differences any relationship would have. in regards to the distance- the internet is a great thing. whatsapp saved me— it came around the time we were starting so that was really amazing. it makes it easy for me to stay connected to how things are going. i’m looking into ways i can exploit that more because now i’m working with people from different places like lagos, netherlands & the uk. it’s beautiful to see what you can do working in this way while still creating a culture of business.
it’s the quote i have on my phone- you will never influence the world by trying to act like it so shine your differences. ‘experts’ don’t confuse me anymore. they can inspire me & sometimes i follow their advice but if it doesn’t make sense or if it feels off then i do it my way.
i call it homework. silent meditation- which i wish i did more of. i have a guided meditation that i just brainwash myself with. i like the idea of brainwashing because i think we’ve been brainwashed anyway, so better to be brainwashed into the head space you want to be in. i have one tool that i swear by, which is writing my success— it’s really powerful. what it’s taught me, & what i see as truth is that we are brainwashed to look only at our mistakes & only at what is wrong & if you are stuck in a place where you do things wrong all the time, especially when you’re running a business, where there’s always room to improve & you’re learning new things constantly, it means that you’re also failing constantly & you can’t create powerfully from that space. it’s very hard to trust yourself, so writing down your successes every day is very empowering because you’re brainwashing yourself to think of things you do right & it shows you that you can either beat yourself up about what you didn’t get right or you can focus on the things you achieved. it’s a beautiful way of seeing the mistakes.
nicely designed, thought-through coffee shops
a place with a lot of sunlight. i’m thinking of white wavy curtains in the living room with the sun coming through
a tent with pillows & candle light
crystals for me make a space feel more intentional & sacred.