You want to be a boss. You dream of being the type of woman who is on her grind, building an empire and taking no prisoners. Chairman by M.I, I’m a Boss by Rick Ross, and Looku Looku by The Mavins are key songs in the playlist of your life. When you heard an organisation called She Leads Africa started up, you were wondering when they were going to call you. Clearly they had you in mind when they were incorporated. There’s only one big problem – you think your partner might be a hater, #SwagDeflator – every #MotherlandMogul’s worst nightmare.
One of the most critical factors that will impact your professional and entrepreneurial growth will be your significant other. Having a partner who supports you is a godsend – their belief in your talents and dreams will have you thinking you’re Oprah 2.0 or the female Dangote-in-waiting. Having a partner who actively blocks your shine is the worst.
With this in mind, we, at She Leads Africa, have come up with a few tips to help you spot a partner who will be supportive of your #MotherlandMogul swag – your very own #SwagAssist.
Was his mum a hustler?
To start, you have to take it all the way to the beginning. Our families and childhoods have a huge influence on what we think our lives should look like when we become adults. If a guy grew up with a mum who was always on her hustle, he’s more likely to see your hustle as normal and ordinary. Additionally, if his mum is a hustler herself, she’s more likely to tell him to chill if he starts complaining too much about your work schedule. This isn’t to say that sons of stay-at-home mums will want you to do the same, but understand that it may take him some time to get used to your hustle.
How much gendered language does he use?
Any potential partner who uses words like “men’s work” and “women’s work” should raise immediate red flags. To be a #SwagAssist, a guy needs to have his own beliefs about gender norms not what society has told him. He needs to be comfortable sharing the work at home – if you’re running late at the office, he needs to be okay putting the kids to bed. If you have a big meeting the next day and don’t have time to cook dinner, he needs to be fine with that. If a guy sees the world in one particular way and thinks that you need to stay in your lane, he’s probably not going to be the Tee Bilz to your Tiwa Savage.
How hard does he try to upgrade you and your business?
Beyonce told the world she wants to upgrade her man, but you should also have someone who wants your business to reach the next level. There are plenty of guys that pay lip service to supporting their partners but in reality they couldn’t care less. Does your partner think about how their personal and professional networks can help you grow? If they have special skills, do they use them to support you? For example, if he’s a banker has he offered to look at your numbers? A #SwagAssist will energetically try to support your professional aspirations.
Align your partner with your ambition – Bola Adesola, MD Standard Chartered Nigeria.
What does he say when you complain about the hustle?
We all have times when nothing seems to be working, and we just want to roll up into the fetal position and give up. Yes, we all want a partner who is occasionally going to baby us and tell us everything is going to be okay. Here’s the thing though – building a business isn’t child’s play and having a partner who is going to let you give up is not helpful if you’re really trying to be a #MotherlandMogul. You need someone who cares about you so deeply that they’ll listen to you complain, but believes in you so much that they force you to get back up.
How does he react to your business success?
When you’ve just signed a big deal and you tell him, look carefully at the movement in his face and tone of his voice. Does he give you a weak smile – the same one Yetunde gave her boyfriend when he proposed with an ugly ring? Does he say congrats quickly and then get back to how bad the traffic was in Lekki? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you’ve got yourself a certified #SwagDeflator. A #SwagAssist will make it clear that you da real MVP. He will give you Azonto, Shoki and the running man all at the same time. All of his social media followers will know that you just won. He’ll be so excited that you’ll think he just won the lottery. That’s the sort of partner you need walking with you on the journey to professional success.
Everyone knows that one of the easiest ways to lose a war is to start fighting on two fronts – just ask any German commander circa early 1940s. Your business will have enough obstacles trying to bring it down, adding your partner to the list is an unnecessary burden. We’re talking about the partner who thinks your business is cute and is basically a hobby with a website. When the going gets tough, they are quick to tell you to relax and give up – “Don’t worry, it’s not that important.” Our forefathers (and mothers ;-P) told us that “it takes a village to raise a child.” They could easily have said that it takes a village to raise an entrepreneur – and guess what? Your husband, your bae, your partner, your number 1 is a critical member of that village.
We hope you find someone who cares about your professional happiness and success just as much as you do. If you’re already married and your guy failed all these questions, please don’t cite us in the divorce proceedings.