A Cross Section of Team Narnia

My initial attempt into entrepreneurship was during middle school. I transformed into a rather crude version of a loan shark, catering to my peers who often mishandled their pocket money, seeking swift loans with interest from my burgeoning lump sum. Prior to that, my mother (spoken of discreetly) had occasionally acquired small sums from me without interest, contributing to household expenses, which I also benefited from.

My father, a successful accountant, engaged me in one of our earliest discussions on resource optimization. During our school years, each of us played a role in the family’s side hustles, ranging from commercial soapmaking to the transportation business.

I frequently attribute my business acumen to our rich heritage, encompassing both maternal and paternal lineages. These roots trace back to the Fula people, renowned for their nomadic entrepreneurship across Western Africa, the Yoruba people, traditionally esteemed as Africa’s most adept and productive craftsmen, and the Mandinka people, celebrated for their exceptional storytelling prowess, among other attributes.

This profound heritage molds me into a Sierra Leonean Entrepreneur who has ventured into numerous enterprises. Though I faced significant failures, I eventually achieved success with two ventures—Narnia Educational Group and Ariana Diaries Media—projects that have garnered global recognition and enabled me to positively influence thousands domestically (in Sierra Leone) and worldwide.

Over a decade of navigating the delicate and fragile entrepreneurship ecosystem, I have acquired insights that prompted me to refine my business models and adopt a holistic approach. Two primary motivations drive this transformation: my aspiration to relish the process of empire-building and the profound hope that these structures will flourish and outlive my earthly existence.
In the fast-paced world of startups and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the spotlight often falls on the visionary entrepreneur who spearheads the endeavour. However, behind every successful entrepreneur lies a web of interconnected factors that contribute to their triumph. From valuable relationships to strategic investments, achieving success in the entrepreneurial realm goes beyond the individual and extends to the holistic ecosystem that nurtures growth. In this post, I hope to delve into the concept of holistic entrepreneurship and explore how achieving synergies among the mind, body, and spirit can pave the way for a prosperous future.

The Myth of the Lone Entrepreneur
It’s easy to romanticize the image of a lone entrepreneur battling the odds and achieving greatness singlehandedly. However, reality tells a different story. For every entrepreneur that rises to prominence, there are countless individuals who provide support, expertise, and guidance. From mentors and advisors to co-founders and team members, these relationships form the backbone of a startup or SME’s journey. I do not believe in the ideology that I was or will ever be SELF – MADE, entrepreneurship for me, means community, it means sacrifice and collective interest for the collective good.

Embracing Holistic Entrepreneurship
In the early days, I would work tirelessly and not give myself enough time to dwell in the tiny achievements or just be grateful. My social relationships suffered as well as my most intimate relationships, more important than not, my health declined greatly. Thankfully during the course of diversifying my entrepreneurial interests, I delved into coaching, public speaking and the wellness industry, this was the start of a slow awakening to embracing holistic entrepreneurship.
Holistic entrepreneurship recognizes that success is not just about the products or services a business offers but also about the overall well-being of the entrepreneur, the team, and the ecosystem. The mind, body, and spirit are intricately interconnected aspects that, when nurtured collectively, can lead to remarkable outcomes.

Nurturing the Mind
The entrepreneurial journey is a mental marathon. Cultivating a growth mindset, continuous learning, and adaptability are key factors that set successful entrepreneurs apart. By investing in your mental well-being, you can tackle challenges with resilience and open-mindedness, driving innovation and sustainable growth. Slowly and gradually, I have invested in rituals and routines:
• Engaging in mindfulness and meditation practices can significantly improve your mental well-being. These practices help you stay present, reduce stress, and enhance your ability to manage challenging situations.
• Establish a morning routine: Dedicate a few minutes every morning to affirmations and gratitude journaling, physical activity if you like sweat or just somatic exercises (Like I do), recently cold showers and ice bucket showers have come in handy.
• I try to take midday breaks during my workday to practice mindfulness. You can use techniques like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or even a quick walk outside. These breaks can help you recharge and maintain focus.
• This used to be the hardest: getting quality sleep. Over the past 3 years, I have attended a sleep workshop (I kid you not), bought books and attended masterclasses to enhance and practice the power of sleep. Nowadays I am prioritizing sleep by establishing a consistent sleep schedule and creating a sleep-conducive environment. Why? quality sleep directly influences your cognitive function, mood, and overall well-being. I have eye masks, pillow sprays, essential oils, different kinds of noises depending on my needs. (White, brown noise… do some research!)
• Delegate/ outsource; I must admit that this comes with lessons(getting the right resources, can be tricky). Also, recognizing that you can’t do everything on your own. Delegate tasks to team members or consider outsourcing certain aspects of your business. As it allows you to focus on high-priority tasks and prevents burnout.
• I do not joke with establishing boundaries and prioritizing self-care; as entrepreneurs we often find it challenging to disconnect from work, which can lead to feelings of overwhelm. So, I have invested in separate business lines/ work phone numbers. I do not check my emails until after my AM routine is complete. I switch off my office line when I am engaging in family time or social functions that require my whole self. The rationale is, everything will find a way of continuing if I am not here, but I cannot awaken myself from the dead. i.e., if I end up with a premature heart attack.
I am now working on clearly defining my working hours: I intend to set specific work hours and days and stick to them.

Caring for the Body
Physical health often takes a backseat amidst the chaos of building a business. Yet, neglecting one’s well-being can lead to burnout and diminished performance. Regular exercise, proper nutrition, and adequate rest are vital for maintaining the energy and vitality needed to drive a startup forward. Do not drive yourself to an early debt or be recruited by the #HustleWorkCulture
Getting rid of a hustle work culture requires a combination of individual efforts, organizational changes, and societal shifts. Here are 3 steps that you can take as a starting point:
1. Start with Self-Awareness: recognize the negative impact of constant hustle on your well-being, health, and personal life. Understand that working long hours and sacrificing rest can lead to burnout and decreased productivity in the long run.
2. Encourage Flexibility with your team: If you’re in a leadership position or have influence within your organization, promote flexible work arrangements. Allow employees to have more control over their schedules and work locations, which can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.
3. Redefine Success: Shift the focus from measuring success solely based on hours worked to results achieved. Encourage a culture that values outcomes, creativity, and innovation over busyness.

Fostering the Spirit
The spirit encompasses the passion, purpose, and values that drive an entrepreneur’s journey. The spirit is not religious, it is spiritual. Focusing on a higher power, builds conviction – that is why I align with Faith. I am more attuned with Christianity; over the years I have built my own Rhema and that does not necessarily appeal to every denomination. Lets go back to the essence of fostering the spirit and its dynamics: I have observed that building a business aligned with one’s personal convictions can provide an enduring sense of fulfillment. Furthermore, fostering a positive company culture that has values; which may be: collaboration, empathy, and social responsibility can lead to greater success and employee satisfaction. Choose this day, whom you must serve!

Achieving Synergies for the Future
Holistic entrepreneurship isn’t just about individual well-being; it extends to the entire ecosystem. To achieve synergies for the future, consider these strategies:

Build Meaningful Relationships: Forge connections with mentors, advisors, investors, and peers who share your values and vision. Their insights and support can propel your business to new heights.

Invest in Team Development: Nurture your team’s growth by providing opportunities for skill development, fostering a supportive environment, and recognizing their contributions.

Balance and Boundaries: Strive for a work-life balance that enables you to recharge and approach challenges with a fresh perspective. Set clear boundaries to prevent burnout.

Align with Purpose: Ensure that your business goals align with your personal values and beliefs. This alignment can drive passion, commitment, and a sense of fulfillment.

Pay It Forward: Just as you’ve received support, be willing to offer assistance to others in the entrepreneurial community. Collaboration can lead to mutually beneficial outcomes.

Wanna ace at holistic entrepreneurship? then you must recognize that practice is key and that success is a collaborative effort that encompasses the mind, body, and spirit. By nurturing these interconnected aspects and fostering a supportive ecosystem, you can achieve synergies that lead to sustainable growth, meaningful impact, and a promising future for your startup and or SME. Remember, the journey to success is not a solitary one; it’s a tapestry woven with the threads of shared experiences, valuable relationships, and holistic well-being. 

Reach out if you are looking for practical ways to build your team’s brand culture with a holistic view. WhatsApp only :+23230662102 or Email: ariana@narnia.sl

Written by: arianadiaries