Unlearning Strongwoman Podcast

3. Wholeness Is the Best Gift You Can Give Yourself - Sanyade Okoli

December 31, 2022 Tolu Agbelusi/Sanyade Okoli Season 1 Episode 3
3. Wholeness Is the Best Gift You Can Give Yourself - Sanyade Okoli
Unlearning Strongwoman Podcast
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Unlearning Strongwoman Podcast
3. Wholeness Is the Best Gift You Can Give Yourself - Sanyade Okoli
Dec 31, 2022 Season 1 Episode 3
Tolu Agbelusi/Sanyade Okoli

In today's episode, Tolu Agbelusi speaks with Sanyade Okoli  about what it takes to authentically live as your whole self in world that is bound to try and sell you counterfeit versions of yourself.

Sanyade is the CEO of Alpha African Advisory, an international boutique investment bank based in Nigeria.  She is a life coach and also runs an inner-healing ministry called 'Pursuing Wholeness'. You can connect with Sanyade and find out more about the services she offers here:

Website: https://justasiam.ng/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sanyadeokoli/

Support the Show.

I am always keen to hear your thoughts, so do leave comments or feedback:

The music for Unlearning Strongwoman is created by Shade Joseph
Locating Strongwoman, a poetry collection by Tolu Agbelusi can be purchased here.


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Show Notes Transcript

In today's episode, Tolu Agbelusi speaks with Sanyade Okoli  about what it takes to authentically live as your whole self in world that is bound to try and sell you counterfeit versions of yourself.

Sanyade is the CEO of Alpha African Advisory, an international boutique investment bank based in Nigeria.  She is a life coach and also runs an inner-healing ministry called 'Pursuing Wholeness'. You can connect with Sanyade and find out more about the services she offers here:

Website: https://justasiam.ng/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sanyadeokoli/

Support the Show.

I am always keen to hear your thoughts, so do leave comments or feedback:

The music for Unlearning Strongwoman is created by Shade Joseph
Locating Strongwoman, a poetry collection by Tolu Agbelusi can be purchased here.


 Wholeness Is The Best Gift You Can Give Yourself - with Sanyade Okoli

Sanyade Okoli: [00:00:00] Wholeness and going for your wholeness is the best gift you can give to yourself. Um, best gift you can give to those around you.

Tolu: Good people. Welcome to another episode of Unlearning Strongwoman. I am your host Tolu Agbelusi and my guest today is Sanyade Okoli. CEO of boutique International Investment Firm, Alpha African Advisory, she is also a writer and I happen to know that when the spirit is moving, she can be a very convincing actor. She does a few other things, but I'm sure we'll get into that as the conversation goes on. Sanyade, thank you for coming to the show.

Sanyade Okoli: Thank you for having me. 

Tolu: We first met at a writer's retreat where, I was one of the poetry tutors and we bonded over some [00:01:00] chicken that the Lord placed you in the kitchen to cook.

Sanyade Okoli: Yes.

Enough said 

Tolu: yes.

We got into a few conversations then which just made me a little bit more interested in, in your outlooks on women, on growth on bias. And I know these are also topics that you have talked about, um, in other spheres. So I always start these conversations with the same question. What is a strong woman to you?

Sanyade Okoli: A strong woman is a woman who knows who she is, loves who she is. Accepts who she is,warts and all. A strong woman is one who does not feel she needs to be perfect, recognizes that no one is perfect. Striving for perfection is fruitless, but strives to be her best self. Nevertheless. [00:02:00] 

Tolu: Mmh. And would you say that has always been your understanding of what a strong woman is or has that changed over time?

Sanyade Okoli: It's definitely evolved. I think it has evolved as I have grown as a person matured, and as I have come to accept my own flaws. Um, and acknowledging that just because I'm not perfect does not make me any less a strong woman. 

Tolu: Who are the women that immediately come to mind when you think about that definition you gave?

Sanyade Okoli: I think the first person that comes to mind is, um, a lady called Ibukun Awosika, who is a business executive. She was chairman of one of the largest banks in Nigeria. Um, but founded her own, um, chair manufacturing company. Has a very, um, diverse, she has diverse interests and she has significant impact, and it's been [00:03:00] amazing to watch from a distance how she has managed to overcome adversity and still come out on top.

So I, I found her quite, um, inspiring. Another such person is a lady called Dr. Mina Bajomo who, um, together with her husband heads up a ministry called Lapis Lazuli Ministries. Again, they have had significant impact and it's just been wonderful to see their ministry grow in different directions. And so for example, in 2020, they were meant to be having a conference, a physical conference in, in May of 2020.

But we all know what happened. But they managed to pivot and make it an online conference. And since then, they're now doing monthly sessions. It, it's basically, it's just exploded the ministry. What was meant to have just shut them down, exploded the ministry. . But another thing about her that I've just again, So, just one quick one, just [00:04:00] watching from the distance is she has four children.

I too have four children. And just seeing her relationship with her children and how in the past conferences the children will fly in from, um, the UK or wherever and come and help and support. , it's just for me wonderful to watch. 

Tolu: And a parallel question, uh, who are two or three women who you would say have widened this sphere of possibility for who you get to be in the world and why?

And that's whether those are women who are in your circle in a way that Ibukun Awosika might be, or authors, uh, you know, other people in the outerwordly sphere who are still of impact. 

Sanyade Okoli: Wow. That is That's an interesting question. I, I'd say those first two as well. Um, but I know that you're not gonna let me get away with just saying [00:05:00] those first two.

Um, but I'll quickly touch on the first is with Ibukun, seeing the many aspects of her life, I feel just for want of a better word, gives me permission to be all that I am. Cause I'm not just a business executive. I'm not just, you know, someone in the inner healing ministry and coach. Watching somebody else live a full and rich, diverse life. Strengthens my own, um, resolve to do the same.

Tolu: Mm.

Sanyade Okoli: Um, who else would I say? One person that comes to my mind is a lady called Priscilla Shirer, and I just love to see how she, so she's a writer, she's a minister, she's a public speaker, et cetera, and she's a wife and a mother. I'm sure you're beginning to see that the whole concept of balance is very important for me and seeing her, be her whole self in different [00:06:00] areas, you know, when I listen to her minister, again is encouragement for Sanyade to bring her whole self, wherever she goes. 

Tolu: Yeah. And the reason I always ask both of them is because 

Sanyade Okoli: yeah, 

Tolu: Sometimes they, they throw up different people and other times they throw up different reasons. Um, because why, why you see somebody as, as strong woman has its own thing, but who widens the sphere of, of who you get to be as you've kind of just laid down is by seeing somebody do that, I get to realise okay, that possibility is there for me too. So it's kind of just mining into that and the possibilities of who we are and how we walk into, into that realization.

And speaking of walking into realisations, I'm interested in how we walk, how we step into ourselves. How we step into our power as women. Um, and different people have different markers, right? But for me, I can think back to a particular season, maybe I didn't know it yet at [00:07:00] the time, but looking back, I can think to a particular season where I am like, oh, that's when you became a woman because X was happening and Y was happening, and everything came together to create the foundation of the thing that has continued to grow. So it's a tricky question. I'm very aware of that. But , but the question is, in what season would you say you stepped into your womanhood, into your power in that way and, and what was happening at the time?

Sanyade Okoli: Um, it's difficult to say. I think it's, 

Tolu: mm-hmm

Sanyade Okoli: One way of looking at it is I have stepped into deepening levels of my womanhood. At various points I have, uh, taken steps to mature. So if we start with the age [00:08:00] of 16 when I left home essentially, went to boarding school in the UK. And I had the kind of liberty, obviously one did not have when they lived at home, even though I lived in boarding school, I was in boarding school, you know that was one level of maturity, and then at the age of 21, when between graduating and starting work, I spent two months in Paris in language school. So there I was going to a completely different country, speaking a different language, not, not staying with a family or anyone, just staying in sort of YWCA and having to find myself in a different way. Um, and it's interesting cause I was actually there a few days ago, I went to the area where my language school was and I, literally had like 20 minutes. Don't worry. It was a mad story as to why I went into Central Paris for 20 minutes and ran back for my [00:09:00] flight.

Um, But again, it was like I rediscovered . Yes, I know. I rediscovered another part of me and it rekindled like old desires of 20 almost 30 years ago and that was powerful. But going back to your original question, I think more recently and um, more pivotal has been my journey to wholeness, where I recognized that I was a broken person. I had had experiences that broke me, and I stopped denying my brokenness. I stopped running away from dealing with that brokenness. And I chose to pursue my wholeness and call me a, a wholeness evangelist, but I can say to you, [00:10:00] it's, wholeness and going for your wholeness is the best gift you can give to yourself. Best gift you can give to those around you.

Tolu: I mean, I'm all down for wholeness, evangelist, , it's catchy, but, and, and we'll get into what that is and what that means. But you've touched on something there. You said you stopped denying that term, denying, um, my brokenness. And as part of these conversations, I mean, the title says it, Unlearning Strongwoman.

The question arises like, why, why do you think you were denying your brokenness? Was it, do you think, or would you say that is part of societal conditioning, um, that you are now throwing off? Or was it just more of a personal thing or both? 

Sanyade Okoli: I, I think it's, with a lot of these things, it's, so, I think the first thing, and I guess for the benefit of the listeners, I'll just be [00:11:00] open.

Um, the core era of brokenness was having been sexually abused as a child. But one quite common way of people dealing with sexual abuse is to repress the memory. 

Tolu: Mm-hmm. 

Sanyade Okoli: and what happened to me in my, probably late teens or maybe in my yeah late teens when i was in university, and I was speaking to a friend and she said so many people I know have been sexually abused and I said, I paused, I said, I don't know anyone who's been sexually abused, and as I said it, the memory came back. 

Tolu: You had a Peter moment 

Sanyade Okoli: and that it's like, oh, , what am I talking about? And that tells you, the level to which I had repressed that memory. And a lot of people use it as a coping mechanism. 

Tolu: Yeah. 

Sanyade Okoli: But it's not a successful coping mechanism in the [00:12:00] mid to long run because it's like, it's like denying cancer. 

Tolu: Yeah.

What ideas of yourself would you say you were given, whether consciously or implicitly by people especially women, close to you growing up or in your community growing up, which as you've grown older, you've decided you need to divest from, you need to, you need to unlearn. 

Sanyade Okoli: Um, I think the first one for somebody, so I'm from Sierra Leone, grew up in Sierra Leone, West Africa, is the whole concept of the woman's place, and that woman's place is somewhere beneath the men in her lives. Be it the father, the husband, the brother, the [00:13:00] uncle, whoever, where you are made to feel like your voice does not count.

The second one is me as a Black woman where, in the mid nineties to age myself, working in corporate London, I felt that there was certain stereotypes I had to fit into. 

Tolu: Yeah. 

Sanyade Okoli: And I remember having a conversation with a, um, an older friend in the accountancy firm where I worked about whether or not I could braid my hair. And we concluded that braiding my hair would be too racy.Not to talk about having natural hair. But I have to admit even when I did go natural here in Nigeria seven years ago, it was a little finger up to society because at the time,natural hair was not as common. Especially here, everybody has a, you know, big old weave or wig, et cetera. 

Tolu: Down to your backside. Yeah. 


Sanyade Okoli: And I was really going against the grain. 

Tolu: At that point. What made you think enough? 

Sanyade Okoli: Because I just, I realized I didn't have to conform to people's views that came from a place of brokenness. Cause I was essentially allowing other people's brokenness to confine me. 

Tolu: Yeah. 

Sanyade Okoli: And I remember sitting, you know, rather as I was progressing to, you know, transitioning as we call it, to natural hair, sitting in a salon, this natural hair salon, and I felt like us Black women had been sold the biggest lie. Because I was surrounded by women with such beautiful hair, doing a wide variety of things with their hair, and there I was, having spent the previous several decades, straightening my hair when most of the time, all I could do was have it in a ponytail. because my hair does not respond well to the moisture in the air or you know, you just have one style. And I just felt like I had allowed a [00:15:00] part, part of me, a great, wonderful part of me to have been stolen and I chose to no longer partner with that. Yeah. 

Tolu: And I, when you were speaking in answering this question two, things Uh, stood out.

I don't know whether or not if it was, it was a slip of tongue and if it was, it was a beautiful one. You said, the men in my lives when you were talking about the place, uh, of women, and I was like, that is such a beautiful way to say it, whether or not you meant to say Men, men in my life, or men in my lives.

Because it har, it harkens back to that thing of we're not, we have many lives. We, we function in many spaces and in many roles, and all of those things are part of, of who we are. Um, and we should care for all of those things. And the other thing, go ahead.

Sanyade Okoli: It was probably a freudan slip just to take you up on that. In that you could imagine somebody who studied mechanical engineering in the early nineties.

Men in that aspect of my life made me feel like I could. In [00:16:00] fact, I remember a tutor when I was toying with applying for a Masters in Engineering, saying I wasn't capable, but then I graduated with a 2.1. Equally, at school in sixth form, where the men in my life there said I couldn't apply to Cambridge University, because they didn't think I could do it. So where, you're right.

In various aspects of my life, you're being told you can't. But thankfully that example, one man in my life was my older brother who came to school and said if Sanyade wants to apply to Cambridge, Sanyade will apply to Cambridge.

Tolu: And Sanyade did and got in , 

Sanyade Okoli: thankfully. So, um, I must admit I'm not, I I, I do not see men as foes, um, men are, can equally be allies in our, in our journey to, um, yeah, unlearning strong woman. 

Tolu: And I think one of the most important things about the conversation we've had, so far, even in the course of different [00:17:00] questions, it's, I think earlier you said, I chose to prioritize my wholeness and then speaking about hair and um, things you unlearn, you said, I chose to stop allowing other people's brokenness to affect how I live. And it's just that awareness of the fact that when you're going to fully step into your power, it has to be an intentional thing of choosing yourself or choosing and choosing not to let other people's views other people's, I was gonna say wellbeing, but it's not really wellbeing.

Other people's projections, um, override what you need as a person. 

Sanyade Okoli: Thank you for, for raising that.Just this week I was having a conversation with my husband and I've come to more fully appreciate that a lot of the outcomes of our lives today, they are the sum total of our choices. 

Tolu: [00:18:00] Mm-hmm. 

Sanyade Okoli: And it's easy for us to say life happens and life happens. It's almost like just life just bounced me and buffeted me and got me to where I am today. And yes, indeed life sometimes does happen, but more often than not we happen because of the choices that we make, both good or bad. Um, but it's developing that awareness and recognizing that quite often we do have a choice.

The choice may be easy, but we do have choice, most even not all of the time and having courage to make those choices. 

Tolu: Definitely, definitely. So you are, you're a CEO of a top finance firm. Your firm, uh, you talked about this healing practice, which we'll get into next. You did mechanical engineering at Cambridge. Was that what you always envisioned yourself doing, or how did that trajectory unfold?

Sanyade Okoli: Which one? The engineering or the finance, 

Tolu: all of it. How it [00:19:00] dovetails into each other. , because it, it, it does obviously somehow for you.

Sanyade Okoli: So I guess at school, my strongest subjects were the sciences, especially the likes of physics, maths, etcetera. So going forward, and I had told, interestingly Tolu, I had bought into the lie, that I could not write. Age 13, I'd done, poured my heart into an English essay, and the teacher had been so unkind with her mark marking that I literally remember sitting down that day and concluding that I cannot write. 

Tolu: but you can, 

Sanyade Okoli: but of course, we know that I eventually, unlearned that lie, uh, in my forties. Yes, thank you. Um, so I focused on the sciences and then it's like, ok, well what subjects? At some point I thought of architecture, but honestly, I really cannot draw

That one [00:20:00] experimented and I realized putting 3D onto 2d something is, there's a block in there . So that is not a lie. That is true. I cannot come... Guys. I struggle to put 3D into 2D. So that kind of limits what you can do. I didn't want to do just pure Maths, so that took me to engineering. Are you laughing at me? 

Tolu: With you, my sister, with you... 

Sanyade Okoli: So I then thought, okay, engineering and at Cambridge in the first few years, Um, you do everything. So even though I initially went into study electronic engineering, I realized, ah, that was not a natural fit. 

Tolu: Mm-hmm. 

Sanyade Okoli: That didn't play to my strengths. So literally it was more a case of what, what am I not strong at and discarding those and focusing on okay, [00:21:00] what are my strongest subjects and what can I essentially get the strongest degree in?

And that took me to mechanical engineering. But then pretty early on, I realized I didn't wanna work as an engineer, but there I was, living in the UK wasn't a British citizen, the whole work permit, et cetera, et cetera. What can I do? Accounting, get a training visa. Um, so I went into auditing and Tolu, I can say to you again, as you can see, there's a, I've learned a lot about myself, not just my strengths or my weaknesses, let's just say I did not thrive as an auditor. Not at all, so much so, there were times I would be in the bathroom and I would see invariably one of our sisters as the cleaners and I would look at her in mild envy and think, it's okay for you. You only have to [00:22:00] clean. I have to audit. 

Tolu: That bad?

Sanyade Okoli: That's how bad it was, but that bad. But thankfully, after about three years in, I did Myers Briggs. You know, the personality test, and as I, as soon as I did it, I immediately realized what the issue was. Auditing was completely not suited to my personality. It was that simple. So I realized that I needed to move out of there. So long story short, stint in marketing, et cetera, and then sort of more finance and I was getting more and more into my groove and then with some of the partners, we started what is now Alpha African. It used to be called Travant. It's a private equity business. 

2008, financial crisis happens in, um, so we had to morph change the business model from investing to more financial advisory and the founding CEO left, [00:23:00] you know, towards the end of the financial crisis, I was left managing this baby and, um, 12 years on I continue to manage this baby. 

Tolu: Beautiful. 

How do you remind yourself that you have every right to inhabit the power and position that you have?

Sanyade Okoli: Another really good question. Um, thankfully, cause I,

Tolu: thank you. 

Sanyade Okoli: Because I grew. I grew up in Sierra Leone, where I was surrounded by Black men and women. 

Tolu: Yeah. 

Sanyade Okoli: Who owned their spaces. I didn't have too much of a question regarding can I as a, for example a Black person, can I be an engineer or this, that, and the other? Thankfully, I, I, I wasn't laden by that burden. Um, and because I've found myself as a [00:24:00] minority for so long in so many very different spheres, and I have managed to survive and even thrive. Half the time I don't really question it. And also because I, I believe I'm where I’m meant to be at this time.

So if I'm in the space that I'm created to be who dare tell me that I shouldn't be there. 

Tolu: Preach 

Sanyade Okoli: and should they try and tell me I'll be very willing to tell them. and I, I, I have had that, you know, people, they underestimate me cause of, you know, I look youthful, et cetera. And I'll tell you a little story where it's a Friday. We dress down on Friday, as you know, I have, you know, natural hair some days, um, shall we say, funkier than others.

So I don't fit the stereotype of a CEO of [00:25:00] a boutique investment bank. So been out of the office, and then I was called that there are some people who are waiting to see my chairman, my chairman's not around, can you come and meet them? So I come into my boardroom, you know, with my funky hair, um, dressed casually and I'm saying my greetings, you could see some young Turk in his suit, looking at me as if, at who is this woman? To which I then went up to him and smiled and said, I'm Sanyade Okoli, I'm the CEO of the company, you are in my boardroom.

And there have been a few times I've had to say, you're in my boardroom and you better treat me with respect. Otherwise, you'll leave my boardroom. I will not be leaving my boardroom. 

Tolu: Yep. You've mentioned once or twice. Um, that you, you, you said something about, uh, uh, I can't remember, I think you called it an inner healing ministry, um, and coach, I think that was how you described, uh, [00:26:00] that part of what you do.

Um, can you talk me through that? Like how did that come about? What does it entail? 

Sanyade Okoli: Um, how did it come about? As I said, I've, no, I've faced brokenness and at some point in my life I started to deal with my own brokenness and as I dealt with my brokenness, I wanted to help other people to deal with their brokenness.

So I'm trained in inner healing with the Bethel Sozo ministry. Inner healing deals with the past and how the past affects your today and your tomorrow, but it's going back and bringing healing to some of the inner wounds and identifying the lies that we believe ourselves, about others, about the world, because of past experiences and, um, [00:27:00] cha well challenging sounds, um, confrontational, but addressing those lies and bringing truth to it.

Then more recently I trained as a life coach. The coaching is to do with the present and the future. Um, so as a result, I, I guess I have a very holistic perspective on people, on lives and getting the best out of our lives. 

Tolu: And how does that run? 

Sanyade Okoli: So, um, in the, inner healing, I serve a ministry called Bethel Sozo Network, Nigeria. You can Google that, but I also developed my own Inner healing journey. I call it a life transformational journey, and that's an online course. It's called Pursuing Wholeness. Um, so you can Google that with my name or you can go onto, I've got my site called [00:28:00] justasIam.ng 

So that's JustAsIAm.NG where um, I write blog posts. As Tolu says, I write. And you can access the link to Pursuing Wholeness and honestly, I am the first beneficiary of pursuing wholeness because I went through the pursuing wholeness program before I could develop it and share it with other people. And then you can contact me through the same means, if you desire, um, coaching services. At the moment, coaching is one on one. Um, but I'm sure that certainly in the mid medium term I'll look to do some, um, group coaching, um, programs as well. 

Tolu: Great. 

Sanyade Okoli: But if all else fails, my name on Instagram, my name on LinkedIn, you'll find me. 

Tolu: Yep. A few quick fiery questions, not [00:29:00] quite quick fire, but what armor do you wear to go out in the world?

Sanyade Okoli: I'm sure you know what I'm going to say, the love and the grace of God. 

Tolu: Amen. 

Sanyade Okoli: Just knowing that I'm a beloved child. 

Love that. 

Tolu: Um, what scares you? 

Sanyade Okoli: Not fulfilling potential. Not, not actualizing all I was created to fulfill in this world. The thought of that. 

Tolu: And do you know what that is? Like what your purpose is? 

Sanyade Okoli: Um, I now know a lot of it is to do with the wholeness.

Uh, I break it into things. I believe I am called to restore broken hearts, broken dreams and broken lives. And so through the various aspects from my Financial advisory, um, inner healing, coaching, et cetera. I believe I'm [00:30:00] called to just bring wholeness. 

Tolu: Great. Um, and what brings you joy? 

Sanyade Okoli: A few things. Family, just, just being with loved ones, family, friends. I love to laugh. so watching a dry bar comedy show on YouTube, whilst I'm brushing my teeth, brings me a lot of joy. I love traveling. I love being out nature. The English countryside is a particular favourite. To name a few, And bringing wholeness to people. It gives, it gives me such fulfilment and such joy. 

Tolu: What does sisterhood mean to you? 

Sanyade Okoli: Sisterhood in the first instance means being there and being present for, for others. I think that in reality, there are different levels. So, you are not going to have [00:31:00] 100 best friends. There are going to be a handful of people that you share deep, authentic relationships with. But then they're the wider pool of people that you are, you're being there for. You are presenting opportunities for, when you can. You are cheering on. You are absolutely not pulling down. You're an enabler and not a disruptor in the negative sense. Cause the truth is for us as the body of women to step all we're meant to be, we're not gonna do it as individuals. We're gonna have to do it collectively and holistically. 

Tolu: Yeah. Yeah. A question I was going to ask, earlier, which slipped my mind. You mentioned you have four children, if I remember correctly. Is it two girls and two boys? 

Sanyade Okoli: Yes. 

Tolu: Okay. Um, in raising your children and bearing in mind how intentional you are and are trying to be in your [00:32:00] own life in terms of choosing wholeness, are there things that you have done to make sure that they don't grow up with some of the conditioning specifically around what you're capable of doing, that you had to deal with societally growing up, which, which still exist in our society now. 

Sanyade Okoli: Yes. Uh, well you met my eldest child. My daughter.

Tolu: Yeah. 

Sanyade Okoli: And, um, she, so it's girl, boy, boy, girl, in terms of the, the order of my children and I try to consciously raise the daughters as "strong black women", not in the, I'm so strong and I don't have emotions, but in the I have power. I, I'm a worthy being. Um, [00:33:00] but also, To recognize that we partner with the men in our lives. So it's, it's not a them and us, and then for our sons, it's to also raise them so they don't feel like the sisters should be in the kitchen, whilst they sit in the living room watching, um, football. So it's to, first of all, treat each one as an individual and help each of them to be their best selves, which includes tapping into the both masculine, the feminine parts of them. Cause each one of us have both just to varying degrees and anyway, my eldest was not about put into some gender defined box anyway , even if I wanted to , she was having none of that. She was like "what do you mean I should be in the kitchen. What about my brothers"? You should be in the kitchen. What do you [00:34:00] mean I should learn to cook?" We got there eventually. But there was a lot of headbutting, I have to admit. 

Tolu: Talking about your, your, your eldest, that moment when we were on the writing retreat and it was a, it was a task that I had said about, you know, what would you say, what would you say to somebody on a first or second date if you had to say, you know, the one thing I want you to know about me is, and somebody must have said something about I go Dutch, which then became a polarizing discussion about should men pay on first dates and should this be the thing that you tell your date? And I'm remembering that because after this whole discussion raged, and I mean raged, I mean the lecture, lesson went a little bit of course. And I was one of the people that made it go of course, because I was like, how did you get there?

How did you get there? But, your daughter [00:35:00] was brilliant because, without knowing, without... you of course, know this, so I'm, I'm saying this for, for the, for the benefit of those who are listening without knowing that we were even going to get into this discussion or that this guy had written, I go Dutch as the one thing he would tell the person that he was on a date with.

She had written this thing about how she's a strong, independent woman and doesn't something, something to patriarchal society, but if we go on a date, you better be paying for the thing. Like after having had this whole discussion and then we get to her turn to read, like the discussion is dead now we're just, we're just reading so that we can move on with the rest of the class.

And then she reads this thing and the whole class erupts in laughter again, and I'm like, there you go. Sanyade's done her job here, it's OK.

Sanyade Okoli: It was a classic and you know, cause it was like, it was last,

Tolu: I remember it often. 

Sanyade Okoli: It was the last line and it was just, it was just beautiful. And I have to admit [00:36:00] in that class, and you know, that week I saw her not just as my daughter, but I saw her as a young woman, With her own thoughts and her own, whatever it was, it was that week, I have to say thank you. It was a really special week. 

Tolu: Oh, me too. Me too. And it was just great, just to even see the interaction between both of you, because that's difficult in any setting for both of you to be in the same writer's retreat and having to interact with people, but you handled that like champs.

Um, my final question is, do you ever think about legacy? And if you do, what do you want yours to be? 

Sanyade Okoli: Absolutely. I think about legacy. The legacy I want to leave, is the first instance it has to be in my children, my children's children. That each one of them will fulfill what God placed them on earth to fulfill. That they will live [00:37:00] full, rich, blessed, balanced lives rooted in knowing that they too are loved and accepted by God just the way they are. The second legacy I would like to leave is lives and hearts transformed because of wholeness- individuals, families, communities, and nations. 

Tolu: Yeah, 

Sanyade Okoli: That is my desire. 

Tolu: And so maybe . Uh, thank you so much for this conversation. It has been refreshing in so many ways. 

Sanyade Okoli: Thank you for having me, I have thoroughly enjoyed it and great great questions. Lots of food for thought. 

Tolu: Strength is so often portrayed as a characteristic that should make us stoic, unmoved, and completely self-sufficient in a way that leaves no room for softness, vulnerability, [00:38:00] or breaking down. Sanyade reminds us, it doesn't have to be that way. Wholeness is the best gift you can give yourself, but to claim it, you're going to have to stop denying your own brokenness. In case you're interested in learning more about any of Sanyade's services, details will be in the show notes for how to contact her. We, of course, will be back at the end of next month with a brand-new episode. In the meantime, do share, comment and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. My handle on Instagram and Twitter is @toluagbelusi. Details and spellings will be in the show notes.

Until next time, this is Unlearning Strongwoman.