Build a support group- Connecting with likeminded people can be a huge help on your journey, it helps to build friends with groups of people that can relate to your journey, sharing in both the good and the bad times.
In this interview series, we are exploring the subject of resilience among successful business leaders. Resilience is one characteristic that many successful leaders share in common, and in many cases, it is the most important trait necessary to survive and thrive in today’s complex market.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Leonard Sekyonda.
Leonard Sekyonda is a British Internet personality, Best-selling Author, Motivational Speaker & Life Coach. Leonard’s successes to date include his MYCOMEUP Youtube channel (over 30million views), MYCOMEUP WORLD (127000 users) and his debut best-selling book “Become Your Own Hero Again — the goal setting guide to unlocking you”. Leonard’s goal is to make the Personal Development techniques and methods that he has used throughout his journey accessible and applicable within people’s day to day lives.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
Sure, at 19 years old I jumped straight into the deep end, setting-up my first international business flying to South Asia (Philippines) and recruiting nurses to the UK.
Aware of the lack of support and belief available for aspiring entrepreneurs, I went on to Co-found Tech startup MYCOMEUP in the early 2009, motiving its audience with motivational articles and MYCOMEUP (words of wisdom) videos which have garnered over 31 Million views on YouTube.
MYCOMEUP WORLD is a social network that matches freelancers, entrepreneurs and creatives. It also provides work opportunities through internship. The network now boosts over 127,000 global users. My goal is to make the Personal Development techniques and methods that I have used throughout my journey accessible and applicable within people’s day to day lives.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
When I was 20 years old, I set up my very own international student recruitment agency in the Philippines. The biggest risk I took was jumping on the plane to the Philippines in order to present the education courses I had available for Filipino nurses to study in the UK. I was very nervous and many websites online wrote about the dangers of travelling to the Philippines. However, when I got there I was welcomed with open arms and my presence and the fact that I had actually flew there myself was appreciated. As a result of this, at 20 years old, I found myself being introduced and invited for lunch with town mayors and government officials, which was an incredible experience. I learned that it’s important to follow your gut and that sometimes you may be only the only one that sees the opportunity in what you are doing, so you have to be willing to go at it alone in order to make it become a reality.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
MYCOMEUP world stands out because it’s an online community that doesn’t discriminate or isolate our users based on their current position. We have devoted over 10 years on inspiring entrepreneurs to following their dream through both motivational content, interviews and how-to articles. Our content has seen over 33,181,711 views and our community now boosts over 239,000 users.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
A book that impacted me at the start of my journey is a book called “Rich Dad Poor Dad.” After dropping out of school at the age of 18, I was extremely nervous about the reality of my future. However “Rich Dad Poor Dad” was the first book that provided me with an alternative prospective that I still had the ability to change my circumstance and become successful as an entrepreneur/ business owner.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
In my journey this far, I’ve learnt that life is a constant test of character, belief and ideals. Throughout life we are presented with many obstacles and challenges that will test us but it is only through resilience that we are truly able to see, remain persistent and continue to go after what we aspire to achieve in life. To be resilient is to not give up and instead to pivot, pick yourself up and try and again. I believe that so many people stop at the first few obstacles they are hit with and as a result never truly get to discover their true capability. I believe resilience is the ability to not take our setbacks personally but instead to see them as feedback.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
When I think of resilience I think about Muhammad Ali who was a heavy weight boxing champion who lost his titles due to no fighting in the war between Japan and the USA. During this period, he lost his boxing titles, money and reputation. However, he never stopped training and believing that he was a champion and when the time came around again and this banned was lifted, he won back his titles and became a champion again. Ali’s story is inspiring to me because it’s a true example of mental resilience and self-belief.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
When I was starting my business in the Philippines I mentioned that I would be travelling overseas to some friends and they were both reluctant and suggested that I stick to doing business in the UK. One friend said it would be impossible to get nurses to sign up to my agency without having an office there however after the first presentation, I had over 30 Filipino nurses sign up to study in the UK through my courses.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
A big setback for me was not doing well during my time in college and studying my A levels. During this time I had to pick up a part time job and as a result of this my grades suffered. The hardest part for me was the fact that I was actually trying but still getting D’s and E’s which was very disheartening and made my question both my intelligence and capability. For some the educational path is an excellent option however for me it just wasn’t where I excelled. When I dropped out I found myself starting a career in property which was something I was actually interested in and as a result of this I started my own estate agency at 19 years old.
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
Growing up I lost my dad when I was 8 years old which was both emotionally painful and hard to deal with. At first, I felt like I would never be able to live with his loss and also began to feel that I might have a disadvantage in life because of it. However, through time I learnt to view his loss as a sign for me to step up and when I thought long and hard about it, I knew that he would want me to persevere and follow my dreams, just as he did.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
1.Reward yourself when you win– So often we don’t congratulate ourselves when we actually win or achieve something
2. Health & Fitness — Working out at least 3 times per week both helps physical and mental endurance.
3. Healthy foods — Choosing to eat more healthily can enable you to fuel your body with the right stuff.
4. Read– Reading and studying the biographies of people that have achieved exactly what you aspire to achieve can not only build up your confidence but prepare you for similar setbacks that you too may experience on your journey.
5. Build a support group- Connecting with likeminded people can be a huge help on your journey, it helps to build friends with groups of people that can relate to your journey, sharing in both the good and the bad times.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would start a movement called “Just Start” because I believe we never really truly know what we are capable of until we actually start. So many of us procrastinate or complicate the process of fulfilling our dreams and as a result of this we never actually end up starting in the first place. I feel if more people just started, they would learn that just like when we first learn to walk, we later discover that we have the ability to run! It sounds very simple but its powerful… “Just Start” 🙂
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
I would love to have breakfast with Elon Musk, I feel like he is not only a business genius but one of the brightest visionaries of our time. I’ve been following his development on his new company “Neuralink” and I’d love pick his brain on his vision for the company.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can follow me instagram @leonardsekyonda
and get in contact with me on www.leonardsekyonda.com
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!