TOLULOPE TUNDE-AJIBOYE: Connecting Lives To Purpose
Words by- Josephine Agbonkhese
A seasoned professional, entrepreneur, author and an award-winning life coach, Tolulope Tunde-Ajiboye effortlessly and gracefully wears many caps.
The Founder of Blooming Amazons Ministry, BLAM, a platform building a global community of purpose-driven women, Tunde-Ajiboye also doubles as the Lead Coach at TTALIFECLASS where she walks individuals from various walks of life through living a wholesome life.
The graduate of Computer Science holds various certifications on conflict resolution, management, leadership and emotional intelligence from renowned institutions.
A member of Women in Business, Management and Public Life, WIMBIZ, TTA, as she is fondly called, has, in her kitty, numerous awards. Most recently, she was named Next Generation Female Leader by the African Women in Leadership Organisation, AWLO.
She is the author of “Undaunted” and “Bloom”, two widely read masterpieces focused on inspiring resilience; thriving amid adversity.
In this interview with Allure, Tunde-Ajiboye speaks on her work, life, style and more.
You are a corporate professional, life coach, events planner, speaker and author; how do you wear these many caps?
I strongly believe you will be graced for your race, and that if you have been called to something, you are wired to walk in the fullness of it. That means my temperament and every other thing about me has been wired to do these things.
I will also say it hasn’t been a burden in any way. That is why trying to be someone else or coveting other people’s journey is a waste of time; no matter how much you try, you won’t be as effective as the one who is wired to be that person.
…but which of these is closest to your heart and why?
(Laughs) I honestly cannot decide because they are all different expressions of me. It’s like asking which is more valuable between one’s hand, leg or face. They are all a part of my make-up.
At what point in your life did you decide it was necessary to birth Blooming?
I got married in 2008, at age 22, and by the age of 24, I already had two children to cater to while also juggling career. It was an overwhelming season for me and I realised I was practically in all of these alone. Amid that, there was this feeling of emptiness inside of me, especially as motherhood began to seem like routine. Soon, it dawned on me that there should be more to every woman’s life than the honour of being a mum. That inspired BLAM and I’ve never looked back since that discovery.
Let us talk about BLAM…
BLAM is a for-purpose ministry that focuses on supporting young women to live in the fullness of life God has called them to. We are stirring an awakening in women, both young and old, to live at their best. I believe, strongly, that walking in purpose and vision is key because life will surely deal everyone a blow. Vision will, however, keep and restrain you no matter what happens. Your vision is what keeps you in check and grounded. Storms will always be there but remember, always, that they will pass.
As part of our activities, we host regular meetings, both online and onsite, aimed at imparting knowledge through mentoring, networking and spiritual nourishment. One of our biggest activities is our annual Undaunted Conference where women are opportune to listen, learn and be inspired by very successful women like Mrs Ibukun Awosika and Pastor Mildred Okonkwo.
The impact, also, has been awesome. A lot of participants have gone on a complete journey of self-rediscovery.
Societal pressure makes discovering one’s goals and staying focused difficult.
As a life coach, what are your top hacks for remaining focused going by present economic realities?
You must eliminate distractions; you will be more productive when you remove from your life, anything from your surroundings that might cause a distraction. You must also learn to prioritise tasks when you have a lot of tasks to complete. This lets you focus on one task at a time, and allows you to, methodically, work through your tasks instead of simply being overwhelmed and likely ineffectual. Taking breaks in-between is also necessary because it helps your mind to reset. Allot time to certain tasks and focus on one thing at a time.
You also have a distinct passion for young marriages; did a personal experience spur this?
I’ve always been passionate about marriage and family because they are God’s own institution. I’m passionate about seeing marriages thrive and seeing people raise godly children. Maybe because I got married quite early, at the age of 22; young and naïve.
Why do most marriages fail these days?
Too many people go into marriage for the wrong reasons and unprepared. Hence, they become disappointed when their expectations are not met. It’s important people realise that a partner cannot meet every of their needs and can also never be totally responsible for their happiness. That’s too much burden to put on an individual. If you look to your partner for joy, happiness and validation all the time, you will wear them out without knowing. Marriage works better when two whole, secure people work together. A lot of individuals however do not seem to understand this.
Above all, no marriage can survive without patience, tolerance and kindness. Years into marriage, you will realise that the “butterflies in your belly” is not what will sustain your marriage.
My marriage turned 15 years in April and I can categorically say, in as much as I married a good man, that feelings are not what sustain a marriage.
In your opinion, what factors can guarantee a successful, lasting marriage?
Years into marriage, you will realise that the “butterflies in your belly” is not what will sustain your marriage.
Like I said earlier, for us women especially, know that your spouse is not responsible for your happiness and freeing them of the weight of that, will go a long way in guaranteeing happiness. It is important we are in control of our happiness; it is unfair to look to another individual for that because, honestly, nobody in this world can make another person happy every time and every day. Know this and know peace (Laughs). So, it is advisable to be positively engaged in other areas of life. Above all, imbibe the habit of developing healthy relationships outside marriage.
Challenges abound. Which has ever made you feel like giving up on your goals?
If you know me too well, you would understand it is not in my nature to give up. Challenges are challenges and not the end. When I am faced with one, it only means: do some soul-searching and dig deeper. Honestly, giving up is never something I consider.
What’s the biggest project you are currently working on?
Biggest on our agenda right now is our Gen Z project targeted at Gen Z women. Key areas of this project include mentorship and career guidance which involves connecting Gen Z women with successful women leaders and professionals, providing career guidance, networking opportunities, and insights into different industries.
It also includes mental health and wellbeing, focused on addressing initiatives that address the mental health concerns of Gen Z women, offering counseling services, workshops on coping with stress, and promoting self-care practices. Other areas include online activism and advocacy, leadership, financial education and entrepreneurship, as well as education on healthy relationships.
Tell us about your childhood…
I grew up in Lagos, in a small family of four– my mum, my dad, my elder brother and myself.
I was particularly an outspoken child and a super smart kid. I remember being the star of memorising and queen of learning routines. I was almost always, the youngest in any group I was in—the brigade and choir being one of my fondest. No one, no matter their size, could intimidate me into silence. I was and I still am very bold.
Who has influenced your life the most and how?
My mum. She is late now though. She was a very active member of the Methodist church. My mum worked in a Federal parastatal. She is my example of a woman who lives her life to the brim, unafraid to chart territories that have no landmarks. She was a strong force in the lives of my brother and I, both spiritually, financially and otherwise. She ensured we were actively involved in almost every church activity while growing up.
Giving was central to my mum’s core. Christmas in our house was, in fact, a feast. She would hire local cooks and make huge pots of delicious fire-wood jollof rice and turkey. The burnt part of the jollof was my favourite, and the feet and head of the chicken appealed to me the most (Laughs).
Honestly I could go on and on; my mum was all that and so much more. Unfortunately, she went to be with the Lord in 2020; I miss her so much.
Internationally, who would you name your favourite icon?
Really, the only person I want to be like is Jesus; He is the only one who lived a perfect life. I, however, have people who inspire me, not in the totality of existence, but in different areas. For influence, I would say Oprah; marriage, Michelle Obama; ministry, Joyce Meyer; and public speaking, T D Jakes.
What do you do when not working?
I love reading. I watch and listen to edifying contents too. I value rest, so, I do also love to sleep when not working (Laughs).
If you were to read a book for a whole day, what book would that be and why?
Francine Rivers will be my all time favourite, after the Bible of course.
I love her style of writing. I also like that it is clean content with a story line that reinforces my faith
Describe your style…
My style is daring; I’m not conservative in anyway. I also don’t follow trends. For me, I’m the trend. I create my own style and I’m not afraid to try a new fashion item or style.
Your most priced fashion accessory…
I think I’m a well-rounded fashionista; I can’t really say which fashion accessory is most priced because I attach equal value to them all. I love great perfumes, I invest in good shoes and will not hesitate to spend a fortune on a good dress.