#WeStayLearning Issue 003: Inventing Yourself



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#WeStayLearning Issue 003: Inventing Yourself
A Netflix show inspires this week’s #WeStayLearning issue. Fair warning, one or two things I say here might be taken as debatable; just remember as you read that it is my opinion. 
I promised in my first issue to be authentic and straightforward - no bullshits, no fluff - just write about things that I learn or relearn every week - regardless of how I learn them or what niche/topic it falls into. Today’s newsletter is an excellent example of that.

Peace Itimi
Reinvent yourself whenever you want to and as many times you want to
Hey folks, how’s your week coming? Good, I hope.
So I watched Inventing Anna over the weekend, and honestly, I was very impressed. The show is about Anna Sorokin, a Russian-German convicted fraudster who pretended to be a wealthy German heiress to defraud banks, hotels, and wealthy acquaintances.
Inventing Anna | Official Trailer | Netflix
Inventing Anna | Official Trailer | Netflix
The show is about her fraud which I don’t endorse, but I was impressed because there are elements of her personality that I thought, “wow! could have been used for good”. For instance:
  • Anna’s audacity: Amongst other things, she was able to scam her way to renting a private jet; she also went to Morocco with zero funds (zero! like Shingbain, Nada, nothing, no money at all) and asked to book the most expensive resort. Bruh, the audacity!.
  • Her tenacity: She received a lot of No’s in the early days of putting together the proposal for her foundation, ADF. She also kept going from one luxury hotel to another after getting kicked out of each, or imagine, staying at Kacy Duke’s reception for hours, waiting for her to open the door to the apartment cause she needed a place to stay.
  • And the fact that a lot of the things she did were partly possible due to her white privilege (this is my opinion. it’s okay if you disagree). I am just amazed by the sheer ease with which she could get into certain circles just because of that privilege.
I am impressed by these, mainly the first two, because scam aside, we can achieve so much with audacity and tenacity. Sometimes, all it takes is the ability to dare and to keep going.
But I wasn’t just impressed; it also made me confront three very valuable lessons:
Lessons From Inventing Anna
1. How you carry yourself matters, and sometimes, to get to where you want to be, you have to first look like you fit in:
I know it sounds cliché and that people can defy this, but oh my! in some context, it might be exactly what you need to be taken seriously.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is a very popular saying, one that most people agree with, yet I am learning that the cover matters because not everyone will get the chance to flip the pages or read the book cover for cover.
You’d meet many people for the first time & that first impression is all they’d have of you. So yes! How you look and how you carry yourself can sway interest to or away from you.
Anna Delvey knew this, even the Tinder Swindler, even Elizabeth Holmes, as all three of them learned to look and act the part. In Anna’s case, she started wearing corporate (designer) outfits, not just dresses, dyed her hair and even wore glasses. Elizabeth was her black turtlenecks & deep voice 😂. Tinder Swindler was private jets and expensive dinner. Even Mark Zuck dumped his grey t-shirt for a suit to testify before Congress.
These are extreme examples, but the lesson is still there.
Sometimes where you want to be requires you to look & talk the part.
Some will call it “fake it till you make it”. I choose to see it as preparation, and the best part is that you can actually do it without losing your authenticity.
You can gather as much knowledge of your dream role, company, status, business contract as possible; the people who make the decisions, why & how they make the decisions. Basically, ground yourself with as much knowledge & context about where you are headed, even get a mentor or a coach if needed and use that as ammunition.
Preparation is always 80% of the work. It is most of what you need to be confident. The rest is dressing your best (and this has absolutely nothing to do with the cost of the outfit) & then walking and talking with confidence.
Always come prepared, so it looks like you are ready and deserve to be there. 
2. You’d go forward faster with a great network:
In Episode Three, we see Anna struggle to gather any interest in her foundation or with working with her and then; we see the massive turnaround when Nora introduced her to her circle.
Things changed by just expanding her circle and meeting new people - the right people. The same people who said No before became interested in the project simply because “this person mentioned you / that person seems to know you”, etc. Nothing had changed, not her experience or idea, only the people calling her name in rooms she wasn’t in.
What’s your circle like? Who can speak on your behalf? Who can push your agenda when you are not in the room?
The show made me think a lot about how much more deliberate I need to become in nurturing & expanding my network. Not just expanding & meeting new people but actually nurturing those relationships, because it’s one thing to be able to name drop, it another thing to leave an impression with people, but bruh, it’s a different level to have people who are invested in your life and your growth enough to fight for and to vouch for you. That 3rd level requires nurturing!
Your excellent work can and will take you far, but you can go even further and faster with the right supporters, community, and SPONSORS! So yes! Become more deliberate about expanding & nurturing.
3. You can always reinvent yourself.
You can start afresh. You can continue differently. You can become what you think. If you stick with any narrative long enough, you will become it. Just please, don’t become the person who hurts others🙏🏽. Don’t be a fraud. Don’t be Anna!
PS: These lessons are a cool reminder that one can learn positive things from even the ugliest stories & experiences. #WeStayLearning
Another PS: Yesterday, I got featured as a Rising Star, Women in Tech by First Check Africa. #FirstCheckRisingStars
This means a lot to me because:
  • I really dig First Check & its founders. The mission of the organization & the excellence with which they are executing is impressive. So being associated with them is humbling.
  • The women on the list are fire! All TEN of us! Fire. Full armour of badassery.
  • The recognition can be an inspiration for other women. I believe that when I let my light shine, it gives others the permission to let theirs shine as well. And so, I hope this inspires more women to come into tech and to keep excelling in tech.
Moe Odele, someone I respect so much, wrote my profile & I think she did it brilliantly. She wrote, “When people discuss the tech industry in Africa, they usually speak about investments and the types of companies being birthed. These things are important, but one critical piece they tend not to talk about is the people that will build the envisaged future. To me, Peace represents everything exciting about the future of African tech. She’s ambitious, bold, and globally-minded. She fills me with hope and inspires me.
Because she’s building her career "in public”, Peace’s resume is easily discoverable online. What’s not discoverable on Google is her spirit: her tenacity and passion for growing people and businesses. Reading about Peace and her professional trajectory gives far from a complete picture. Peace is a pacesetter, and the tech ecosystem is better off because she’s in it.“ Please read the complete profile here.
Whew! I read that and was like…. whaaaattt! is that me? Lol. Anyway, big shoutout to Moe and everyone at First Check for a beautiful campaign.
Back to #WeStayLearning. Have you seen Inventing Anna? Did you learn anything? Did anything strike you? Please do share in the comments🙏🏽.
Enjoy the rest of your week!
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