Sunday, November 12, 2023

Been long you saw me

This post was originally posted to my Substack as part of a series to ease back into writing. The episodes described below are available at my Substack and I've added links below.

Hello hello!

Long time no see. When I sent my last email in April 2022, I didn’t think it would be nearly two years before the next one.

If you know me IRL or follow me on social media, you may know I lost my dad last year and had a daughter early this year. We lost the Koye Ladele and gained a Koye-Ladele. More than a year has now passed since my dad died, but I still miss him intensely. And when I’m being honest, despite my best efforts, there are still many ways in which I am only now re-engaging with life.

Proof of life.

I have been wanting to resume this newsletter for several weeks. Since returning to ‘circulation’, I’ve had many catch-up conversations with people. As I had some of those conversations, I wanted to write up my thoughts and share them more widely. That’s a good sign. It’s one more way I’m returning to the things I enjoy. (I’ve also been running again since the start of October, although I appear to have chosen the worst time of year to resume running, given how cold it is already).

It feels daunting to recommit to a weekly email in perpetuity, so I have decided to write one season with nine emails (including this one). I’ll email them out every Sunday from today until January 14 (except for Sunday, December 24 when I’ll be too busy cooking up a storm).

To give you an idea of what’s coming, I’ve decided to share what these emails will be about: 

  • Finding work you love. I’m only eleven years into my career, so I don’t have all the answers. But I’ve thought and read about this a lot and talked to dozens of people about it. Jobs famously said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do”. But how do we find work we love?
  • The case for hard work. In 2014, I developed a simplification program for P&G Nigeria tagged “work less, do more”. The leadership threw it out after my first presentation, and I was so hurt that I went home immediately. Don’t laugh – I was an earnest greenhorn. Nine years later, I would have thrown my idea out too. I have worked with several brilliant people who tried to replace hard work with smart work. I tried it too. It does not work. There are equally smart (or smarter) people out there who will outwork you. They’ll eat your lunch and collect your plate.
  • Growing through feedback. One of my favourite questions to ask in interviews is “Tell me about a critical or tough piece of feedback you’ve received…” My experience in hiring and leading teams is that you can tell a lot about someone’s runway by checking if they seek (or welcome) feedback, generalise and keep track of the learnings, and adjust their approach to incorporate valid feedback. I’ll also cover why I think this is a difficult question to answer and maybe include my answer to it.
  • Future proof. Somewhere near 30% of my job can be done by algorithms. And they’d do that 30% better than I do it. Is this true for you too? Where does that leave us? How can we succeed by doubling down on our humanity in the age of AI?
  • Five years an MBA. Scheduled for December 17, it will be five years since I was valedictorian at INSEAD’s Fontainebleau graduation. Five years after what I then described as “the best year of my life yet”, how do the outcomes measure up to expectations? Stay tuned for a deep dive.
  • Preparing for a new year. This will be emailed out on Dec 31. My thoughts on preparing for a new year are public and haven’t changed (here and here for two recent-ish posts). For a break from me, I’ll be writing up my friends’ approaches to preparing for a new year and sending that out.
  • One year a “dada”. This will be emailed out on Jan 7, the eve of my Little O’s first birthday. Becoming a “dada” has changed me in several ways – including some I may not be consciously aware of. It has changed how I think about work, life, relationships, and even faith. I’ll unpack what I can. I’ll also cover what it feels like to be raising her away from the support system and paid help we would have in Lagos while juggling our careers and other pursuits.
  • Topic x. You get to choose the last topic in this season! If there’s something you’d like me to write about for my last email, please respond and let me know. I’ll look out for your answers and look for common themes or try to address as many topics as possible in the final email.

I hope this helps you decide to stick around for this season! This is half the job done for me already, because one of the challenges with a weekly newsletter is figuring out what to write about.

If you’ve stuck around until the end, thank you for reading! Have a lovely week, and I’ll see you next Sunday!


What I’m currently reading: Peter Attia’s Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity had the potential to be one of the most consequential books ever written. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, it is dense and becomes a slog about halfway through. I knew he hadn’t achieved his objective of writing a “readable book” when I found myself thinking, “Well, if I have to do all that to stay healthier for longer, then I’ll take my chances with the communion”. 😂😂😂. It’s a pity, though, because his ideas are so good! My biggest takeaways are two so far. First, given most people who live long enough will succumb to one of the four horsemen of slow death: type 2 diabetes (and related metabolic dysfunction), heart disease, neurogenerative disease (Alzheimer’s/dementia), cancer; we need to switch from treating these after they show up (Medicine 2.0) to finding ways to delay their onset as much as possible (Medicine 3.0). Second, we need to work backwards from what we want to be able to do in our old age and then take steps today to increase our chances of being able to do those things. For example, to be able to lift a 20-pound suitcase above your head when you’re 80, you need to be able to lift 40 or 50 pounds now (because your strength will decline as you age). I’ve taken an extended break from it and know I cannot fit all its recommendations into my daily life, but I’ll try to finish it over the coming week.

What I’m currently listening to: Brooke Ligertwood (What A Beautiful Name, A Thousand Hallelujahs, Desert Song) recently launched a new album, Eight. In preparation for Eight’s release, I was listening to Seven a lot and fell in love with Communion and I Belong to Jesus. Brooke is such a gifted worshipper who sings accessible songs. It’s a blessing to be able to listen to her music.


Bye again! 😗

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