Overcoming self-confidence challenges with her disability, Toyosi is a firm believer in women’s empowerment and being a pillar of support to women that need someone that understands them.
An incredible inspiration, she works with young people like herself who have disabilities and, as a result, have developed insecurities. As a side hustle, she recently launched an exciting fashion brand with the aim of bringing Africa to the forefront of the scene, showing off its eclectic fashion history. But her main passion is coaching. On the verge of launching, her mission is to inspire young women and girls to be the best versions of themselves.
Over to you, Toyosi…
I have been wearing hearing aids since I was four years old. When I was growing up, I felt I didn’t have anyone who knew what I was going through. For that reason, I want to give people what I didn’t have. Growing up in Nigeria wasn’t easy. When they discovered that I had hearing loss, there weren’t any hospitals where I could find the medical care I needed. My mum and I travelled to and from London regularly for my hearing aid batteries, meaning my school life was disrupted frequently. I did find my deafness a challenge. I was bullied because there was literally no one else like me. In fact, I didn’t even meet someone young with hearing aids until 2017.
I developed really bad insecurities. I hated speaking to people, especially in public. In Nigeria, I used to hide in the bathroom for the entire lunch break. When it was time to go home, I would quickly rush to the car and cry my eyes out.
I had the immense privilege of having a supportive family who encouraged me, and plenty of supportive friends. But there are people who don’t have anyone.
My anxiety got so bad I just had to sit with myself and come to the realisation that this is the way I am and I can’t change it. I realised that my disability should not define me. It should make me unique. Now, I know I have a voice and I need to use it.
Moving to England
Eventually, I moved to England and could get over it. It took a lot of working on myself. I think what helped me heal was actually speaking out about it. When you have insecurities, isolate yourself, and dwell on what you think people think of you, it’s hard to move forward.
You’re too busy wrapped up in this idea of what people think. Now, I’ve shifted my thinking to “what do I think of me?” I needed to change the narrative behind the word disability for myself, and help others to do the same. That’s where my coaching through Beautystack comes in.
One of the big factors in many of us is fear. Especially with COVID-19. Fear of what’s going on, fear of the illness, fear of wanting to take the leap – especially in the beauty industry – and I want to help women overcome that fear.
In the past, I had a fear I wasn’t being productive enough. I felt like if I’m not doing something with my hands or striving to be better, then I’m not good enough. It wasn’t true. I had to stop myself and recondition my mind to realise that not working EVERY hour of the day doesn’t make me a failure.
There’s a difference between stopping yourself from growing and learning and just taking a beat to relax and recover. For me, that lesson is all about faith and fear.
Achieving great things
Me being afraid to put myself out there prevented me from achieving what I needed to do. Faith and fear cannot coexist. There’s only room for one of them within you. It’s up to choose which one you let in. If you’re on the journey to becoming the best version of yourself, stop normalising fear.
When we allow fears to be a part of us, it takes precedence over the faith we have in ourselves. I was holding myself back and that really ties into my disability. I was fearful of letting people across my social media channels know I had hearing aids. I thought to myself, what am I going to do? So I decided to write a letter to my hearing loss.
The minute I did, that was me putting myself out there. It wasn’t a huge dramatic public event; it was just me and myself. I put faith in myself that I was doing this for me, and I was doing this to inspire people who had no one to look up. Eventually, my fear left and confidence took its place. When you believe in yourself, you have all the ability you need to do what you need to do.
Ask yourself how you can help yourself move forward. Only then can we start liberating ourselves from fear and operating from a place of faith.
If you’ve been moved by Toyosi’s lesson and would like to hear more, why not book in for a consultancy? She is taking bookings from 1st November 2020. Head over to the Beautystack app and search for Toyosi Alexis and book your coaching session.