When Standing Out is About Standing In!
According to Sade Marriott host of the Banana Island Living Podcast, standing out is about standing in! Sade’s personal take on life and wellbeing is thus:
” I’m happy about being comfortable in my own skin now and being a bit more self-aware and a bit more conscious of other people’s emotions and less careless of other people’s emotions. Yeah not tangible material stuff, I mean those are transient. But I want to be able to look in the mirror and not be embarrassed at what I’ve become. I don’t want to be that person who’s self-congratulatory and look at me and yeah, I think that’s about it”.
I’m actually more sympathetic because you can only really appreciate it. I understand compassion. I’ve volunteered in a prison where we take food, I can make people happy. ”
Banana Island Living, Sade’s podcast brings so much joy. “If I can do something that I enjoy and people can enjoy. Yeah, glancing guilt once in while wouldn’t hurt me, makes me a better person. I count my blessings. Appreciation and gratitude can change you from the inside out. But there are instances where you just can’t control yourself when you are suffering incredible grief and trials. You want to, you just can’t snap out of it. So yeah you know, mental health is an issue. Wellbeing is an issue and try as you might, you can’t get yourself out of that situation. And you need to give yourself permission to look for help and to maybe wallow a bit and then dust yourself off if you can or get intervention. It’s not easy, I just want to know what are the actual practical steps that help you get out of bed in the morning and have a day? I do value what you said about not being too busy and let life getting in the way of our relationships and giving back. And it doesn’t mean money or whatever just time. Time is actually more valuable and just making that time for each other can really make that difference.
Paula: 00:00:00 Welcome to “TesseTalks” with your host Tesse Akpeki and co-host Paula Okonneh, where we share with you top leadership and management strategies. This is a journey of discovery. We are learning that leadership is personal and professional, and we hope that you will walk with us in this adventure. Our guest today is Sade Marriott, and we will be talking with her about, well from here to there and what becomes possible. Before we do start the conversation let me tell you a bit about Sade. Sade Marriott started out studying the modern European languages, but changed to studying law. After qualifying and practicing as a barrister n Nigeria and as a solicitor in the UK, she obtained an MBA and then she changed to education and studied for a PGCE. Sade has served as a magistrate, volunteered in her community and has a passion for helping children to enjoy reading. Welcome Sade to “TesseTalks”.
Sade: 00:01:22 Thank you so much for inviting me.
Tesse: 00:01:25 Hi Sade welcome to the show. I’m delighted that you could join us to talk about what you’re doing. I’ve recently heard your podcast. How did you start doing your podcasting?
Sade: 00:01:41 Oh thank you very much Tesse, can I say you inspired me? I started Banana Island Living cause I live in Banana Island in Lagos and I also live in the UK, but that we’ll talk about that some other time. And I was getting to retirement age and I thought yeah something to do. And with COVID all of us locked down a year of online teaching. I thought yeah, let me just do something interesting. And I wasn’t expecting anybody to listen to it, it was more like a passion project. But shock horror people seem to enjoy it. And here we are, who knows where this could lead. But I’m really enjoying myself at the moment.
Tesse: 00:02:28 Well, I have to confess that I have listened to your podcast. It’s a guilty pleasure. Love it, love it, Paula, over to you.
Paula: 00:02:37 Before we started recording, I was telling Sade that I listened to all five of hers. And that’s tough when you’re not driving much because I tend to listen to a lot of my podcasts most times when I’m driving. So I don’t drive many places and I listened to episode one, then two, then three. And I was like, oh no, it’s finished when I got to number five. So you’re good.
Sade: 00:02:58 I’m so grateful, I’m so grateful and because you guys have been doing it for so long. I really appreciate your feedback. Cause you’re a little bit nervous when you put this things out and you want feedback, but you’re also scared of feedback. But thank you, I’m really really grateful thanks.
Paula: 00:03:17 Well, in the same light talking about podcast and your success, as far as Tesse and I and i’m sure.
Sade: 00:03:23 My, my nearly my budgeting. I’m not quite sucessful I’m not in your league yet, but I’m on a journey.
Tesse: 00:03:32 Modest mothers. That’s what I call it,
Paula: 00:03:34 Humility is great. But we are your judge right now, we say you’re good.
Sade: 00:03:39 Thank you.
Paula: 00:03:39 Really good. So are there any lessons that you’ve learned about building your career or fulfillment through this particular journey?
Sade: 00:03:48 As you said my Journey’s got. Like a friend I’ve been, we know each other well enough for her to laugh at me and say another career cul de sac. I keep paper tape and I just do whatever feels good at that time. All I know that whatever I do, I have to be enjoying it and it has to be good. I don’t want to do anything half cocked. Like if I wanted to go into education, I was going to go back and study for a PGCE. If I was going to be a lawyer, I had to get an LLM, MBA, LL whatever. And It must be the Nigerian in me. You will have to get that degree. It makes you feel you’re bringing your whole self to whatever you’re doing and just do it well. There’s no point starting something if you’re not going to do it well. And then always think, what if I get run over by a bus tomorrow, will they survive me? So everything I’ve done, I think, I hope can survive me except for the podcast. So I’m going to have to look for maybe a cohost so that it can survive me yeah. So that’s where I am. I don’t have any lessons except to be optimistic and smile at the world so that the world can smile back, that’s it. I don’t really believe in saying, oh these are the secrets of success. I’m not going to be that person who writes a book. I’m sure I’m wrong, but I just always feel that there’s some things smug and self-referential in saying, oh I did this look at me. I just think do the best you can be positive and just go with a ride. Do it well.
Paula: 00:05:35 Wow. I love that answer, absolutely love that Tesse.
Tesse: 00:05:38 Yeah so do I. I’ve known Sade since we were 17 year olds together and Sade have always struck me as somebody who’s extremely gifted and very humble. And I was going to ask you what success looks like, but in light of your previous comments, I’m going to slightly change that and.
Sade: 00:06:01 Thank you, I dont think of success, we’re all on a journey. Success assumes you’ve reached that journey.
Tesse: 00:06:05 Absolutely
Sade: 00:06:07 But yeah, I’m not convinced. Success can be being happy where you are. I think that’s about the best I can say.
Tesse: 00:06:15 Yeah, I’m going to use Maslow’s hierarchy of need, you know it’s pretty old, but it’s still very relevant for today. And Maslow talks about self-actualization, which is when you’ve reached that place where you want to be. And you’re traveling before that, there to traveling towards that. So I’m going to ask you what that journey traveling towards self actualization has been for you? I will avoid the word success, I would say self actualization. Sade is her best self, Sade is the best version of herself that she can be.
Sade: 00:06:50 Do you think so ?
Tesse: 00:06:50 What is that? Well, the thing is, in my eyes, you’ve been there since we were 17. But now that we are of a certain age and a certain place in our lives.
Sade: 00:07:01 I think there something about the innocence of ignorance when you’re young, And just being comfortable in your skin. I don’t think I was, I think we were all over the place at 17. But luckily enough, we weren’t aware enough to be aware that we were not terribly good at anything. So you just threw yourself into it and do the best you can. But I don’t know really see it as self actualization. There’s something about self actualization that maybe I’m overthinking this. That makes me think it’s too much about self you know. The word self actualization is too much about self. I think it’s okay to be looking at yourself and I’m on this journey, but there’s too much naval gazing involved in that I think, you know. I don’t spend an awful lot of time navel gazing to be honest. And that is a big weakness of mine. I’m just conscious that I don’t want to hurt anybody on my journey. And if I do then it shouldn’t be intentional. I don’t believe I can build my happiness on other people’s unhappiness. So if I can make people happy or smile or laugh without diminishing their experiences, then that’s what I would consciously like to do, everything else is unintentional. I just want to be intentional about making people feel good. That’s my post COVID sort of, what do they call it? New year’s intentions. Yes. I want to be more intentional. I’m not sure I’m there yet, but I also don’t want to hurt anybody. If I can say I didn’t hurt anybody, but I’m intentional about trying to make people happy that for me would be success. Does that help?
Tesse: 00:08:50 That sounds not just touching and actually quite moving. It also speaks to me about your authenticity, that you are looking not to get in other people’s way and to support them and kind of help them to get to where they need to be. Paula I’m going to hand over to you because I think, you know, it just says, speaks to this sort of person that I’ve known Sade to be over the other over the years.
Paula: 00:09:24 I’m laughing because I’m not going to let Sade get off the hook. So she said, she doesn’t want to use the word success. So I’m going to say, I’ll twist it a bit so Sade what are you proud of? Or the most proud of?
Sade: 00:09:38 I think I’m just proud of still being essentially the same person. That sounds a bit too smug. I’ve grown up quite a bit. Things are less black and white and I think I’m slightly better at seeing the nuance in situations. In a way I’m happy about being comfortable in my own skin now and being a bit more self-aware and a bit more conscious of other people’s emotions and less careless of other people’s emotions. Yeah not tangible material stuff, I mean those are transient. But I want to be able to look in the mirror and not be embarrassed at what I’ve become. I don’t want to be that person who’s self-congratulatory and look at me and yeah, I think that’s about it.
Paula: 00:10:34 Well said, very well said. And you did say sometimes that’s comes from maturity as we journey through life we realize that we really have no control over anything. The family you were born into the opportunities you were given education that you had the children you had, if you do have children. Really and truly it’s pretty much outside of our control. I’m talking from my experience as I’ve gotten older similar to you. And just appreciative for being more aware of the people’s feelings and the fact that when you look in the mirror the person who looks back at you should be someone you should be proud of.
Sade: 00:11:18 What if is somebody you’re not embarrassed about? I mean, I’ll give an example of the casualness with which we treat other people’s experiences sometimes. Like when I first moved to the village, when I got married. Oh the yummy mummies, they have the coffee mornings and they’re agonizing about, I’ve got a dinner party, I’ve got five people just I’ve only got three days. My eyebrows are in my hairline, I said, what are these guys on about? This is your problem? You know. And I wasn’t sympathetic and they were all panicking they had to do this. I was coming from Nigeria where this is a luxury you’re having dinner party and you’re not grateful. Your biggest problem is what your au pair did. What kind of nonsense? I mean, I wasn’t poor in Nigeria and we all had servants and we had the drivers and whatever. But it was more, everyday in Nigeria you’re thinking that count your blessings name them one by one. That’s what we were all brought up to be. But having been here a lot longer, I’m actually more sympathetic because you can only really appreciate it. This is what they have known. If you haven’t been tested, if you haven’t had NEPA dealing with you or catching danfo or whatever it is in Nigeria, when you know you haven’t seen those experiences. Suffering and having that anxiety of a dinner party is a big thing. So I’m a little, well I’m a lot more sympathetic to other people’s experiences. And I’ve learned to shut up my mouth and not talk too much. Just listen a little bit more because their experience is as valid as mine, just because it seems trivial to me doesn’t mean that it’s not important to them. And now I’m intentional in my listening and even if I can’t get into their shoes, I can empathize and try to help to find solutions. Maybe inside my mind, I’m saying “hmm jor” you know, but to them it’s a big deal. So that’s what I mean.
Tesse: 00:13:35 Yeah Sade what you’re talking about closing the empathy gap in being in other people’s shoes, then validating their experiences by listening really deeply listening to them. I think it actually bonds community that builds those relationships. I’m wondering if there are last thoughts that you’d like to share with our listening audience?
Sade: 00:14:00 Well, the other thing I wanted to say was I understand compassion completely, I really do you know. I’ve seen those adverts and I’m thinking, oh gosh not again. And then do a hail Mary immediately after. But I’ve volunteered in a prison where we take food, and the first few times I’m giving everybody who’s asking me. By the third time I’m going, no, you’ve already had one, no you’ve had. And I’m making judgment as to who should have and who shouldn’t. And then you have to remind yourself that these things brutalize your psyche. So much as you would like to empathize, sometimes you just say this is too much, I can’t deal with it. Then you switch channels and watch a guilty pleasure because you don’t want to see. So yeah, I’m no Saint believe me and I do understand compassion, fatigue. And I do have you know, I don’t beat myself up if I can’t help or I can’t empathize as much as I would like to. But where I am now, I’ve made my peace I think? I do like the podcast I post something really worthy. So I’m thinking, oh gosh, Banana Island Living sounds so elitist. And I thought, do you know what? I worked jolly hard. You know, I can make people happy. I lived there I’ve worked there I’ve worked to earn this. And if I can do something that I enjoy and people can enjoy. Yeah, glancing guilt once in while wouldn’t hurt me, makes me a better person. So yeah, go easy on yourself, and as we get to 60 count your blessings again and don’t just rock it.
Tesse: 00:15:44 Yeah, that’s lovely. Paula?
Paula: 00:15:47 Count your blessings, especially as your.
Sade: 00:15:50 Count your blessings name them one by one, count your blessing see what God has done, count you’re blessings name them one by one and it’ll surprise you what the Lord has done.
Tesse: 00:16:04 That’s beautiful appreciation, thanks Paula.
Paula: 00:16:12 Appreciation. Gratitude can change you from the inside out. And so, I mean, this is a song that we are smiling and laughing cause we grew up hearing it. But the words are really deep when we sit down and want to grumble, as you said Sade, everybody’s experience is precious to them, but when we sit down and we look, oh my gosh, this is happening. When you look around and see other people who are worse off, you know.
Sade: 00:16:38 Absolutely, there’s always somebody worse than you. So instead of looking at where you want to be, that you’re not looking at where you are compared to the others.
Paula: 00:16:47 Absolutely, absolutely. And that’s what makes, sometimes that’s what makes you continue smiling, as you said earlier on. And just sometimes a smile can change the world can change somebody’s life. I mean, I’ve heard stories about that, but that’s for another podcast.
Sade: 00:17:04 Yeah and as they say, happiness is a choice you make. You have to work at it, it doesn’t come just like. Some people do have optimistic tendencies, but you do have to make a choice to be happy. I choose happiness. Okay I have the odd downtimes, but yeah.
Paula: 00:17:25 Agreed, I choose happiness too. And that’s what I’m intending to see.
Sade: 00:17:28 And Tesse I’m hoping you’ll choose happiness too.
Tesse: 00:17:32 Yeah, I’m on that journey. I’m glad that you said it. It’s not possible all the time. And I give myself that permission to be real with how I’m feeling. However, overall, I choose happiness.
Sade: 00:17:49 I’m glad to hear that Tesse. I’m so glad you said that.
Tesse: 00:17:54 I am a great believer in the fact that we are at choice and we can choose our responses. Because that’s the only thing we, that we have the power to do. We can choose every other people’s choices, but we can, most of the time choose our own.
Sade: 00:18:17 But I mean, I do having said that and again I’m always contradicting myself it’s the story of my life. But there are instances where you just can’t control yourself when you are suffering incredible grief and trials. You want to, you just can’t snap out of it. So yeah you know, mental health is an issue. Wellbeing is an issue and try as you might, you can’t get yourself out of that situation. And you need to give yourself permission to look for help and to maybe wallow a bit and then dust yourself off if you can or get intervention. It’s not easy, it’s certainly not easy and I’m not being glib about it. It’s just that I find if I make that conscious mantra, make that a conscious mantra every day. Yeah things happen. I don’t know, how has it been for you Tesse?
Tesse: 00:19:13 It’s really interesting time. You know people who have been listening on the show would know that my brother was recently killed. And it’s actually thrown up a lot of questions for me, a lot of pain of loss, a lot of anger that somebody left somebody who I loved at the side of a road and left him to die didn’t stop, didn’t care. So it really is a very mixed time. But what I am really grateful for is the support of friends and colleagues and you know, as our family grieve. And at this point in time, it’s just the new normal for now, and it’s not very bright. But the reality of it is that I’m learning how to be in a valley and know that somehow there are stars from people who care and that has drawn up a whole new reality of what love and what a supportive environment can do in the midst of grief and loss and that’s, that’s totally different. It’s a different place. It wouldn’t have been the future that I would choose. I would still want my brother to be with us. But now the journey is to live with a future that we didn’t choose and to see how happiness or how joy can emerge from the ashes and the sorrow. You know, there’s something I saw the other day, which is beauty and ashes. And that’s how we can have a beautiful kind of veneer in the midst of ashes. Thanks so much for asking that Sade in a way you’ve turned the tables. And it’s Interesting,
Sade: 00:21:02 I’m sorry, I didn’t, I was generally interested because it’s okay to be. I mean it’s easy to be glib and say, oh this works for me or I choose happiness. But there are times where it tries you might, you just can’t it’s not within your reach. And I’m genuinely interested to know what one does in that situation. And I’ve, God I’ve had my troughs, believe me I had my trough’s and like you family, friends. But I just want to know what are the actual practical steps that help you get out of bed in the morning and have a day? What are the things that keep you going when you’re in your troughs?
Tesse: 00:21:48 Yeah, I mean it’s sort of, it’s back to what you’re saying. I mean I’m honestly, I’m still in it and Paula knows this. I mean she actually gives me the helping hand on some really bad days. But what I’m finding really useful at this point in time is if I do get up. And that’s a big thing that sometimes I just don’t want to. But if I do get up, the first thing that I do is make my bed. And it seems like a little thing, but it’s amazingly powerful to say I made the bed. And then other things are to pray, you know, to pray and to meditate on the word and see what the word is saying. The next thing is to take one step in front of the other. One step at a time, not think about a leap into this or leap into that, which a lot of management books talk about leaping into the future. I’m not leaping nowhere. I mean, it’s a step.
Sade: 00:22:49 But you find having a ritual helps.
Tesse: 00:22:52 Oh, definitely.
Sade: 00:22:53 And to think about, but it’s, you know I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that, I’m going to do that. And it becomes a routine. Does that help or does that not help?
Tesse: 00:23:00 No it does help. It’s a habit, it becomes a habit.
Sade: 00:23:04 So like a prayer.
Tesse: 00:23:04 Like a prayer.
Sade: 00:23:06 Making your bed.
Tesse: 00:23:07 Yeah like making the bed and going into nature, taking a walk into nature. And hearing the birds sing, seeing the squirrels jump, those sort of things seeing birds fly. So those habits are important, but more than that, this is something that we talk about, but which are very important for all of us is the power of relationship.
Sade: 00:23:31 Right.
Tesse: 00:23:31 You know, and not just any relationships, it’s like positive, healthy relationships they matter. But if we are going to have relationships that are serving us for me, as well as for all of us, is making the time for those relationships. Because often we are in such a hurry that we don’t invest in our relationships. And this is why I was really keen to hear your experience of how you arrived at the podcast with the same to me, that your podcast, banana island. And when I listened to it, what I take away, or even your relationships with your guests, you can actually hear those relationships coming out and the wealth of those relationships and relationships matter.
Sade: 00:24:15 I’ll tell you a little funny joke. My vicar in our local church, he was asking for volunteers for something and all of us kept desperately quiet. And he said, oh I’m talking to all you TB’s. We said what’s TB’s he said “too busies”. And we looked guiltily at each other. All you TB’s , there’s some things that are important. And there are some things that even though they’re not important, you do need to do them. That’s not just taken from the church or taken from people, but giving back as well. So they never seen so many people volunteering to clean the church now. So all the TB’s were suddenly available for one week only. I do value what you said about not being too busy and let life getting in the way of our relationships and giving back. And it doesn’t mean money or whatever just time. Time is actually more valuable and just making that time for each other.
Paula: 00:25:22 Especially sometimes when you’re in a difficult place, difficult
Sade: 00:25:26 Absolutely.
Paula: 00:25:27 Giving time or doing something that takes your eyes off you and just seeing somebody derive happiness from whatever little it could be. It doesn’t necessarily have to be money.
Sade: 00:25:39 No
Paula: 00:25:40 It could be just listening.
Sade: 00:25:42 And just sometimes people just want to be heard or been seen. Giving them that little bit of yourself. It’s probably more precious than money.
Tesse: 00:25:53 Yeah.
Paula: 00:25:54 Well, just because of the sake of time we’re going to wrap this up.
Sade: 00:25:58 Thank you.
Paula: 00:25:58 So where can you Sade be found online. Are you on Facebook? What social media platforms can you be found on?
Sade: 00:26:08 Right. We’ve got “bananaislandliving.com”, that’s the website. We’re on Instagram, “@bananaislandliving”. We are on Twitter “@banana island living”. So yeah, slide into our DMs, we slide back. But you won’t find me on Facebook, unfortunately. I’m not terterrib au fait. I’m a bit too old. Who wants some geriatric on Facebook like me, so yes.
Paula: 00:26:36 Back to the Facebook these days are for the forties
Sade: 00:26:40 oh, right okay. Well, I have long since forgotten when I was 41.
Paula: 00:26:46 It’s for the grandmas.
Sade: 00:26:49 It’s for the grandmas. Yes I’m on Instagram as “@bananaislandliving” and Twitter “@bananaislandliving” and the website and our podcast,”bananaislandliving”. We’re on Spotify, on apple podcasts, we’re on, you name it, just Google us we’re there and please subscribe and give us a rating. We enjoy feedback,
Paula: 00:27:15 As Tesse and I can attest those podcasts episodes are worth every minute of listening.
Sade: 00:27:22 Thank you, it’s terrible kind.
Paula: 00:27:26 So to our listeners please make sure you head over to Apple podcast, Google podcast, Spotify, or anywhere else where you listen to podcasts and please click subscribe. If you like what you’re hearing, please write a raving review. And if you have questions or topics you want us to cover, whether they’re related to our leadership, governance, or even if it’s personal, just send us a note. You can find us at “wwwtesseakpeki.com/Tessetalks”. And we will definitely get back to you.