Subu is a transformational coach and a marketing executive. She’s the owner of Lioness Awaken® Apparel, a positive affirmations brand. She goes by the name of Lioness Awaken® because she wants to help people to turn their pain into their purpose.
Hey Lioness, can you introduce yourself to us?
I’m creative. I see myself as a storyteller. When I was younger, I used to write poetry and perform it at open mic nights. I also started playing the guitar, singing and writing songs in my twenties. So, once, I graduated from Business School, I enrolled in Tech Music School and did a Music Diploma for three months, which taught me how to hone my craft.
I’m a Lioness. I coach and inspire people through clothing. I believe that words have power. The power to build up or to destroy and we get to choose between the former or the latter. My mission is to encourage people to take on the world by using positive affirmations.
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
During my teenage years, I felt lost and hopeless. So, I spent most of my youth daydreaming. As a result, I tried so many businesses. You name it. I’ve done it. Little did I know. I was having a quarter-life crisis. With each business or blog, I’d started nothing stuck. Nothing felt authentic. I knew deep in my heart that I was headed in the wrong direction, but I didn’t know how to retrace my steps. I didn’t know that what I was searching for was already within me.
And then in 2016, something happened to me. I took a break from my career in Marketing. I went travelling and then a few years later I went through a breakup and then my dog suddenly died. I was broken.
Then one day, I listened to a talk by Victoria Osteen and then it dawned on me that I could turn my life around. Her talk gave me an idea of creating a platform of positivity that would send daily reminders to people to encourage them and help them navigate through the difficulties of life. Months after her talk, I started journaling and reading self-development books and then my personal development journey began.
In October 2017, I came up with Lioness Awaken® and started coaching people who felt they had no purpose based on lessons learned from my quarter-life crisis.
By December 2017, I had enrolled in Coaching School and by August 2018 I realised I wanted to put positive affirmations on apparel wear and I guess you can say the rest is history.
How is your business funded, is it bootstrapped, self-funded etc.?
Lioness Awaken® Apparel is bootstrapped. I started my online clothing store with a little bit of money from my full-time job. I currently work in Marketing for a charity and it has helped me tremendously; to save and invest in my passions and to take risks in my business.
Lioness Awaken® Coaching is self-funded. I saved up to send myself to a psychologically-based Life Coaching School to equip me with the coaching skills to help people create profound change in themselves.
Can you tell us about the thought and design process behind your collection?
Growing up, I was felt like a warrior. I used to watch shows like Xena: Warrior Princess and I resonated with her character. Most other shows depicted women as damsels that needed to be saved. Hence, when I thought of naming my collection the image of a Lioness sprung to mind.
Lioness Awaken® is symbolic of a woman that is brave, bold and can’t be tamed. However, I decided to make my collection unisex. The thought of seeing a man wearing a t-shirt that says Lioness Awaken® makes me smile. It’s such a powerful statement. I do not believe that men should be shut out of the feminist movement. But that’s a conversation for another day.
My second collection is an Affirmations Collection. I printed the words You are Enough. On mugs, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hoodies. The idea behind the collection is that we are enough even though society makes us feel that we are not. But we are enough. Full stop. I really believe in this message because I know it changes lives.
Where can you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?
Well, that’s a loaded question. As a coach, I love helping people to plan their future and to clarify their vision, which often looks to the future.
However, I have also learned that life is a mystery and so I have stopped creating five-year plans. Instead, I use bucket lists with goals without dates, which I stick on my wardrobe with post-it notes. So, I can visualise my goals daily.
Here are some key moments I’d love to create in the future:
- To write a book about my life and tell my story on stages around the world. I believe the words will flow through me once the story needs to be told.
- I’d love to start coaching classes for children in West Africa. I’d love to help them shape how they see themselves and to change their imagination.Doing that could help set them on a different path.
- To explore Africa. I am from West Africa so I would love to tour other parts. First stop would be Morocco. I have heard incredible things.
- To be a mother and nurture some badass, Lions and Lionesses.
- For my Apparel brand to be known globally and worn by men and women ready to take on the world.
- I’d love to record an acoustic soul album and write songs. My sound is deeply influenced by artists such as India Arie, Lauryn Hill, and Jose Gonzalez.
What outlets do use to promote Lioness Awaken®?
Lioness Awaken® Apparel is an online store and so I use social media marketing, my blog, online ads, and the media to push my apparel. The amazing thing is I work in Marketing and so I can transfer the skills I learn at work and use it to propel my business forward.
What or who inspires and motivates you?
Pain is my muse. Pain fuels my creativity. My greatest inspiration has been turning my pain into purpose. “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift” – Mary Oliver
So, tell me what are you doing with your dark moments? Are you drinking it away? Or are you self-medicating? You can choose to use it as fuel to write the greatest book that’s never been written? Or to write the song that will touch many hearts. Or that painting that will brighten up public spaces. You get to choose.
What is the number 1 critical business lesson you have learned so far?
Failure is feedback. I believe failure is inevitable. I see it as a prerequisite for success. If you are not willing to fail. You are not willing to win. Ryan Babineaux and John Krumboltz said it best “fail fast and fail often”.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
There are loads of entrepreneurs that inspire me; Mel Robbins, Marie Forleo, Rand Fishkin and James Sale to name a few. Right now, I admire Grant Cardone and his 10x mindset. I love the whole concept of pushing yourself and not letting anything get in the way.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
My go-to-book will always be The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. This book single-handedly changed my life and I read it every year.
It helped me to realise that happiness is found in the present and not in the future. A lot of people suffer from destination addiction. It is a belief system that you will be happy when this or that happens. But if you spend your whole life waiting for something to happen or someone to save you then you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
I also realised that I believe in duality. I believe that you cannot understand what it means to be happy if you don’t know what it means to be sad. I feel like right now in the self-help space there’s a movement of toxic positivity, which is the belief system that you can be happy all the time and that life is always going to be amazing. I don’t believe that is humanly possible.
I also think it is important to confront your shadow. Learn from your dark moments because it is trying to tell you something. If you do not like your job, try to find out WHY before you jump into another role. Because your job might not actually be the issue. The issue might be YOU.
Top 3 go-to Podcast channels?
- I listen to ‘The Joe Budden Podcast’ on Spotify on a weekly basis. I loved how he transformed his life from a failed rapper and reality star to having his own successful podcast and being a hip-hop commentary and one who fights for the rights of creative people.
- Joel Osteen, I listened to his wife speak on his podcast a few years back when I was going through my quarter-life crisis and it literally turned my life around.
- I listen to Animas Centre For Coaching podcast: ‘The Coaching Life.’ As a life coach, it helps me to learn about what’s new in the industry and learn from other coaches.
How do you define your own success?
I see success as a balance of energies. In this present society, we define success in masculine terms basically one should acquire multiple houses, multiple cars, receive a few awards, be an author of several books which you should list on your LinkedIn page, own a 7-figure business and have multiple degrees and so on. That’s great and everything but that’s just accolades. I also see success in feminine terms which to me is having something to nurture, that could be children, dogs, plants and so on. Success to me is basically a balance of masculinity and femininity energies.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
#BEYOUROWN to me means doing things on your own terms whatever that may be.
Finally, what are you working on throughout 2019?
My plan is to grow Lioness Awaken® Apparel to be a household label. I would love to bump into people; both male and female wearing my collections around the UK. I also plan on doing vision workshops and coach fewer people one-on-one, so I can focus on my apparel business. Currently, I work with leaders, coaches and entrepreneurs to shape their vision.