Who Are You?
Who are you? This would seem like a normal run-of-the-mill question, but I have learned that this is the type of question which is supposed to be answered from a place of total authenticity and awareness. My name is Akosua Dardaine Edwards. I am divine, courageous, patient, and compassionate. I am a child of the source of all, overflowing and abundant with every single thing that I need while I am here in this form. I am love and I am here in service. Not a long time ago I would have answered this question stating my qualifications and my job title along with all the certificates and mentions that I have received on the journey. Now, it is not so important. I know that having the degrees and accomplishments is part of who I am, but it is not who I am fully. I am love and I am here in service: This knowledge is the foundation of everything that I do and every decision that I make. I approach my work from a holistic place. I am sharing lessons on my own journey to unconditional self-love. I share with authenticity and boldness. I've walked through this fire of self-examination and transformation.
After being fired on national television in my country, I know what it's like to look at all the parts of my life that aren't working, and to want to run. I used to run. What changed my life was doing the work and stopping the running and meeting some amazing women on the journey. I have learned that I could run if I wanted to, but I'd end up right where I started — and I'd be more exhausted from all of that avoidance. The most challenging part of not running is facing myself. It was acknowledging that I played a huge part in where I was at the moment by not taking full responsibility for my own gifts and my own life. The blaming, the lack of self-belief, the not-enough-ness was all me! When I owned that, things started changing. My motivation to continue in the challenging moments really comes from the knowledge that whatever I am going through is happening for me, for me to grow, for me to use, for me to change, for me to make another choice, for me to own it — for me, not to me. I also have learned to sit in the feelings and let it pass, to give myself permission to feel and to give myself a time frame to do that, then dust off and start again. I do it all because I believe that I have a responsibility to make wherever I pass a better place and to pass on the gratitude I feel for someone believing in me when I was not even believing in myself or knowing what to do with myself.
Now I work with women and young women in developing countries using entrepreneurship as an empowerment vehicle to rebuild, whether it is rebuilding after a natural disaster or a civil war, or after a family incident. I work with young ladies in schools, detention homes, and orphanages, using the same model where entrepreneurship principles of risk taking, bouncing back after failure, and self-belief are introduced as an essential way of life.
One of the things that has impacted and inspired me the most was spending time with the young ladies at the detention centers and orphanages. I have learned from them the importance of non-judgement, of living in the moment, and how extremely important being seen and heard is to every one of us.
I hope that I can be a demonstration of what is possible when we do the self-work and take the risks of living our authentic selves, that mistakes and failures are part of the journey from which we can bounce back, and what being a person of love and service can accomplish. I want my life to be a big thank-you note to the Universe.
Always love yourself through it all, and keep showing up!
Akosua Dardaine Edwards has won awards for Social Entrepreneur of the Year in Trinidad and Tobago and Caribbean Female Social Entrepreneur of the Year from the Global Innovation Partners. She offers entrepreneurial and business support with a message of unconditional self-love and living a life in love and personal power. Akosua has published two books, Nyabo (Madam)—Why Are You Here and What did I Learn Today, Lessons on the Journey to Unconditional Self Love. In both, she explores self-love and transformation.
As a gender and entrepreneurship specialist, Akosua is the founder of the Enabling Enterprise Project. It collaborates with women’s business support agencies, policy makers and women entrepreneurs worldwide. The programme focuses on enhancement, empowerment, exchange of ideas and experience, and best practices for women’s enterprise and entrepreneurship. Capacity Building with a focus on Self Improvement is her speciality.
Akosua has travelled throughout countries such as Tanzania, India, Grenada, Kenya, Uganda, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Columbia and Trinidad and Tobago working with women and youth entrepreneurs. Being on the ground in communities to see "first-hand the impact of the beauty of the human spirit" is what drove her to begin working in rural communities and developing countries. With great joy, she looks forward to learning from each experience and connecting with those she meets during her travels.
Words: Akosua Dardaine Edwards