“Most times, when I remember the works waiting for me, sleep becomes a sin.“
When you interact with any ‘serious’ minded individual – be it a student, teacher, trader, artisan, career/business person, politician or clergy, who wants to get ahead of his colleagues, contemporaries or competitors, you’ll find that such a person rarely spends his/her entire night sleeping. They either go to bed late (sometimes as late as 2,3am) and still wake up early the next morning. Or they sleep early (say around 9,10pm), program their sleep to last a few hours, then get up and work/pray for some hours into the new day before daybreak. They do so to catch up and gain an edge over their colleagues, contemporaries or competitors. You’ll also find that most serious minded or better put, Intentional people, schedule their day and night hours ahead of time, follow it religiously and leave no room for time-wasters.
Like me before now, you may never have heard the phrase ‘Sleep Is For The Weak’. Didn’t know/hear about it until mid last year when I reconnected with my secondary school classmate and friend Chioma Olivia Ezeamama aka ChiviaXclusive. After plenty catch up gist to find out what we’ve both been up to since 2007 we graduated from secondary school, I was not surprised she was still taking her crocheting interest/passion seriously.
Back in secondary school, JSS 2 in particular, when we were taught crocheting in Fine Arts, I and most of my classmates took it for granted and limited our interest to just doing our classwork/assignments but Ezeams, (as we used to call her back then), would go the extra mile, staying up at night sometimes to knit a variety of things outside the curriculum. Her knit collection then had the regular items we all were required to knit e.g. table cloths, handbags, hair nets, etc, plus other interesting things outside our scope like socks, baby sweaters, pants, bras, and several other things that crossed her imagination.
As expected, a lot of us fell in love with her handiwork and some even offered to buy them from her. Fast forward to 8 years later, that dream is still alive and growing. Long story short, she told me she was combining Fashion School and her work but still made out time to sew/crochet at night. Curiously, I asked how she works her time to accommodate all she has to do within a day and she summed it up with the phrase “sleep is for the weak”. I have to stay up most nights to achieve what I need to achieve because I can’t find enough time for them during the day.
And that’s when/how I heard the quote for the first time. As a matter of fact, anyone who knows ChiviaXclusive aka Fashion Google will most likely associate her with this mantra. So today, I present you with a CEO Memoir, from the beauty and brain behind the ChiviaXclusive Brand. Please seat back, read, learn and share your thoughts.
Sleep Is For The Weak – ChiviaXclusive
Overtime, I have observed and seen that top company executives or anyone who wants to get ahead of his/her contemporaries in life, have one thing is common – they invest their night-time and early morning hours in reading, planning, researching or meetings – spiritual or physical, ahead of each daybreak. I found out that diligence and perseverance require that you see Sleep and time wasting as luxury you cannot afford as much as you want. And this was what inspired the quote “Sleep is for the weak”
Weakness in this context does not necessarily mean physical or intellectual weakness, for me it’s more of a weakness in determination and perseverance. Willingness to sacrifice sleep and do the needed, in order to have the future of my dreams. Success is not a happenstance you know. So I have learnt that those who must be successful, excel or stand out from the crowd, must learn to overcome sleep and make good use of their night hours. This is the reason my personal mantra is “Sleep is for the weak.” And overtime, the consciousness of how I spend my night hours, have gone a long way in determining how productive my day is/goes.
Of course, I catch some sleep whenever I can afford it, especially when I reach the point of diminishing returns, you know what I mean. Those points when staying awake is no longer productive but counterproductive. Asides that, I also bear in mind that my productivity and success is not by my power or ability to stay awake all night. So sometimes, when I have a lot to do but still can’t help the sleep, I console myself with Psalm 127:2 and sleep without guilt, lol.
“In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat– for he grants sleep to those he loves.” – Psalm 127:2, NIV
That said, I stay conscious of the fact that the field I’m in, is a highly competitive one. We have thousands of Fashion Designers springing up every day in Lagos alone, talk more the whole Nigeria, Africa and the world at large. So I have to sacrifice sleep and be on my toes if I want to make any significant input to the industry. The big names and brands we hear of today put in a lot of night hours to achieve the success we admire during the day. As such, I don’t have to slack and leave everything to chance or ‘God’ as some people would say.
Even God Himself said in His word that it is the diligent that will stand before kings (Proverbs 22:29). So I have to do my part by being diligent which ultimately involves sacrificing my sleep sometimes. It’s now God’s part to fulfill His word and crown my efforts with good success. I also bear in mind that it is my efforts that God will bless. So if I put in 0% effort, His Blessing will find no effort to multiply. For instance, if I put in only 10% effort, His Blessing will multiply only my 10% effort, which may not be magnificent enough for all to see. Bearing this in mind, I motivate myself to put in my best efforts, even if it means sacrificing my sleep sometimes in order for me to reach the bar I set for myself so I can have the future I desire in accordance to His will.
Honestly, most times when I remember the works waiting for me, sleep becomes a sin. Then again NEPA isn’t friendly, so since we turn on the gen at night, I gat to be awake and do the much I can before daybreak.
Imagine sleeping when those you intend to catch up and compete with are staying awake to gain more grounds ahead of you; that will be mere wishful thinking! And you may never catch up, talk more overtake ‘them’ except by divine intervention, which also doesn’t come by accident.
That takes me to my next favorite quote: “Without God, you will jonse!” While I stay awake to work most nights, I don’t neglect or overlook the efficacy of midnight prayers. So I also invest some of my night-time hours in prayers. We all know the spiritual controls the physical so the importance of prayers cannot be over emphasized. Matthew 13:25 records that while men slept, the enemy came and sowed tares, so it is more than critical to put things in order spiritually. (this point reminds me of one of the points raised in the first CEO Memoir on the blog).
Summary of this long gist is this – if you want to get ahead of your colleagues, contemporaries or competitors in any field, you cannot overlook/ignore making good use of your night hours. A lot of decisions and activities that determine the course of the day are taken during the night.
Understanding this is my little business/career secret.
Thank you so much Chioma, even though you refused to write, lol (she sent a voicenote instead).
Listening to ChiviaXclusive aka Fashion Google reminded me of sometime back when I newly moved into Lagos. I and a friend/former university course mate were assigned to a certain project. (coincidentally, she also is into Sewing and Fashion Designing; she’s actually the brain and face behind EllaSeams). Back to my story, while I was content with going to bed as soon as I could when I get home from work, she’d get home about 2-3 hours later than me, but still discipline herself to do some sewing before going to bed. And she’d still come to work early enough the next morning, not because it was convenient for her to do so but because she was dedicated and committed to her passion and customers. I got to know this when I asked why she sacrifices her sleep to sew even after a hard day’s work and she explained that one, sewing and creating new designs give her joy and two, her customers/clients know her as a seamstress/fashion designer, so she doesn’t have to give them excuses when they come to collect their clothes on agreed/scheduled dates.
That and my several conversations with ChiviaXclusive continuously challenge me to be more intentional and productive with my night-time hours. Since December last year, I intentionally decided to dedicate some night-time hours to personal development and prayers and today I have some tangible results to show for it. I’m not there yet, still have a long way to go sef, but I am staying this course cause it’s working! There’s a certain edge and confidence I have whenever I use my night for more than just sleep.
I’ll end today’s CEO Memoirs with this quote from Henry Ford.
”It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste time.” – Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company Founder
Thank you for reading to the end. Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comment box.
PS: Do you have any personal career/business secrets you’ll like to share with us? Please don’t hesitate, share your thoughts and opinions in the comment box.
Sacrificing sleep is not a small something. Had to stay awake all night to put this piece together. Unfortunately, it couldn’t be published yesterday as promised… had some power challenges, laptop battery was out so I couldn’t post. Thanks for forgiving moi
Have a blissful and intentionally fruitful rest of week.