The Thrive Questionnaire//

An Entrepreneur, Helping Women in Africa, on The Last Time She Felt Burned Out

Plus her secret life hack.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Afua Osei: I say a little prayer for a day of positivity and peacefulness, and then I turn on my phone and wait for the deluge of notifications and tasks I have for the day.

TG: What gives you energy?
AO: Knowing that I’m building something that has the potential to impact millions of women across the continent gives me great energy and purpose.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
AO: Sleep is my best friend. I try to always get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep to make sure that I wake up refreshed and ready for anything that is thrown my way.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
AO: I first read The Autobiography of Malcolm X in middle school and it’s a book I try to re-read every single year. The ability to continually re-evaluate who you are and your purpose in this world and evolve is such a powerful tool. It can be easy to feel stuck and believe that who you have been in the past is all you can be in the future. This book and the life of Malcolm X shows us that is not the case, and we all have the power to adapt and continue to improve at every stage of our lives.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
AO: Most nights I like to leave my phone turned off and charging in another room. It definitely helps me be more productive but I try to make sure it doesn’t take over every single moment.

TG: How do you deal with email?
AO: I’ve been working on the concept of zero inbox for a while now. I don’t like seeing notifications in my inbox or on my phone so I try to make sure everything is cleared out and addressed so I don’t forget about it.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
AO: I really love YouTube so if I have some extra time I’m definitely watching some old school music videos. My favorites are Heavy D, Guy, Total, and LL Cool J. I clearly have a thing for the 90s.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
AO: I felt burned out just last week! Our company is pan-African and our audience is global, so frequent travel is a requirement. The constant time zone changes can get to me so I always try to plan my travel carefully and make sure I have at least a week in between trips to relax and recalibrate.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
AO: Recently I’ve been viewing fewer things as failures and more as opportunities to do better next time. I know there is plenty of growing and development waiting to happen for me as an individual and as a leader, so all of these moments of disappointment are hopefully leading to bigger things.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
AO:“Go get em tiger.” My dad used to tell me that every morning when he dropped me off at kindergarten. 

Afua is a Co-Founder of She Leads Africa, a community that helps young African women achieve their professional dreams. Afua and her co-founder Yasmin were named by Forbes Africa as 2 of the youngest power women in Africa (2014). Afua was also named by Ventures Africa as one of the top 25 African innovators to watch (2016) and one of the 30 Quartz Africa innovators in 2017.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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