The date was 16th April, 2015; it was after hours and I was still at work.
I was done with work and could have gone home but that was the last thing on my mind. My brother had just created the two Facebook pages I had requested. I had content for one of them, all I had to do was load and post. But boy was I terrified!
What if people laughed? What if nobody thought it was a great piece? What if nobody found it inspiring? What was I even doing anyway? Self-doubt kept bombarding me with questions I had no answers to. After hours of thinking and overthinking something I had already been musing on for weeks, I decided to post the first piece called ‘I see in you the fabulous woman; your strength inspires me‘ to our new Facebook page called The Fabulous Woman.
It was a piece I had written about my mum and the things I had seen her do which inspired me. After posting it, I heaved a sigh of I-don’t-know-if-I-can-call-it-relief, switched off the computer and went home.
The next day, I was surprised to see a few positive responses to my write up. Huh! Well what do you know? I had already written about a few friends as well and so I started posting them one by one as the days and weeks went by. At the time, my main goal of writing and posting was to hone my writing skills so I could eventually fulfil a dream of becoming an author.
Of course the only way I could write was if I loved what I was writing about. For me, when I am writing about women who inspire me, the feeling is so beautiful that I can just go on and on. And so this I believed was the perfect way for me to practise writing (something I loved doing as a child).
Within a short period, our page had 100 Likes! I took a screenshot. And then 200 Likes, another screenshot! 500 Likes, whaaaat?! Haha I will never forget how I used to visit pages with 1000 Likes and daydream about having same. For me, that was a huge deal. And the day it happened I was literally high! I remember calling my brother (and partner) when it got to 999 Likes. Gosh I couldn’t sit still. And then Bam! 1000 Likes! Oh I was so happy! Look, I just caught myself smiling as I reminisce.
OK I finally got my 1000 Likes, now what? I was confused, what was happening? By now I was interviewing women and sharing their beautiful stories, some of them reaching thousands of Facebook users per day. We were getting a lot of positive feedback from readers. A colleague once asked me ‘so Ama, this Fabulous Woman thing, is it giving you money?’ Haha no it wasn’t, but the joy I felt was worth more than gold.
Getting to the end of the year, we decided to register it as a legal entity and that is a story for another day. Eventually, we got the name ‘The Fabulous Woman Network’ and so decided to change the Facebook name to match the organisation’s name. We followed the Facebook process by creating another page with the new name and then merging the two.
Dear Reader, our cloud nine joy came crashing down in torrents when we found out that after the merger we had lost ALL the beautiful stories plus comments, likes, shares…everything! All we had left was the 5000 Likes still intact! I could not believe this! How could this happen to us? This was on 9th November, 2015 (I have this date because I created a WhatsApp group after this calling it ‘Team TFWN – No Shaking’). We quickly started reposting as many old stories as possible just to keep the new page going. We were down, but not out.
Around this same time, I remember being on a bus from Sunyani to Kumasi (returning from a Customer Service training gig) when I had a call from my brother and now Creative Director: Maame Ama, do you see what is happening on the page? The likes are just increasing. Organise an event, people will come!’
I laughed and replied, ‘you paa, are you sure?’ This little brother of mine, the creative genius who has pushed me to the wall and back since he was a baby insisted that I organise it. Long story short, in December, 2015 we had our first event which was a private one with about 30 invited ladies from within my circles. We called it ‘Dinner With The Girls’. My then General Manager (at Golden Tulip Kumasi City) was such a blessing in making this event happen.
My husband and two brothers from another mother supported this event with money as well. A few friends also supported with their services. I was so happy on that day, it was just so beautiful!
We later splashed pictures of the event on Facebook and people reached out requesting to be informed of such in future. Bingo! That was all the encouragement we needed to do our first public event called The Fabulous Woman Speaks on 6th February, 2016.
I remember the frustrations, the tears, the disappointments…Oh the nights I cried asking God why I felt so alone when things were not going the way they should? Where was He? It was not until after this event that I thought ‘wow! God is really amazing!’ The success of it was so incredible to me. Of course, it was also the first time I had real debts to pay! Haha. Although I had received some wonderful support from companies within my network to cushion the bills.
We would go on to do many more events and conferences. We even took a Girls Trip to Dubai and have plans for more of such. However, I cannot explain to you how much fear and self-doubt I have faced before each of these events. The worry, the losing of appetite, the confusion, the frustration, the low sex drive and all its associated wahala!
Not to mention the word on the streets (only God knows which streets though!). For instance, who does she think she is? Haha! Oh wait, did I mention the many mistakes we made in our posts with its associated feelings of inadequacy?
Our latest baby is a hub for women called Fab Hub Ashanti which has already hosted several events for us and other businesses. Now the process we went through is also a story for another time. To God be all the glory.
On the personal front, this organisation opened so many doors for me. I remember being on a phone interview for a fellowship and when I mentioned the name of my organisation the interviewer instantly checked it out on Facebook and remarked ‘The Fabulous Woman Network is yours? Ah then you don’t need this fellowship!’ In my head, I was like ‘this woman paa’ Haha.
I have been on several wonderful fellowships, had the opportunity to work with some of the best brands in Ghana, spoken on stages that should put the fear of God in me on a normal day, and received many accolades through our work in this organisation. Far more than I could have imagined. Wait, how could I forget to mention that I have authored two books already and am working on books three and four!
Today as The Fabulous Woman Network celebrate 5 years of being in existence, I can’t help but thank God that I did not give in to fear, self-doubt and ‘word on the street’. I have had encounters with people who have beautiful ideas but are so afraid and so never take a step. Others say, ‘oh I don’t have time’. Well for the latter group, the timing couldn’t be more perfect in this Covid-19 Lockdown!
For those battling with fear and self-doubt, know this: you are never alone, you really can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (no, this is not a cliché). Please find yourself in a group of people who will encourage, push, pray with and teach you. They should also be able to give you a knock on the head when you need it.
And don’t worry about being critiqued; some of them are really for your own good, other times too, well… Pray to God for help in terms of partners, team members, advisors, clients, etc.
Trust me, my Creative Director and I fight before every single one of our projects. There are times he calls and I can tell he would strangle me had he not been in another city.
He is a perfectionist who would want to take his sweet time to do an admirably excellent job while I on the other hand just want to run with ideas! There was one particular photoshoot which had to be done three different times on three different days before he would choose one! He is impossible and exactly what I need! Haha. I am also surrounded by wonderful fabulous women, some of whom have been there from day one.
Invest in your dream, this is not the time to worry about how much it will cost you or whether you know how to do what you desire to do. Frankly the person who said ‘I don’t know what I am doing until I do it’ had me in mind. Mentors play a huge role in your ‘how’. Also, think about the bigger picture; how will the achievement of your dream help other people? For us at The Fabulous Woman Network, the many positive testimonials we have received from women and even men make us know that this is not about us at all.
Even in this Covid-19 situation, we are busily learning every day in our Facebook group. You see, this is our service to God and that is why we cannot take it for granted or assume ‘we have arrived’
Dearest Reader, I want to challenge you especially if you are pregnant with an idea that is ready to be birthed. Congratulations, you’re about to have a baby!
Author and Founder of The Fabulous Woman Network (www.amaduncan.com)
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