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Jesmine Onyeukwu: I Am Worth More



As a young entrepreneur in a bubbling business hub like Lagos, I can say for sure that I have experienced my own share of the pressure associated with climbing the ladder of business success. Many times I have been made to feel inadequate or should I say ‘not up to standard’. There would always be people who would want to check you out, size you up, analyze your financial worth, assess your social status before they even give you the chance to say “hello”.

It was while starting to get involved in serious business matters in Lagos I heard the term “packaging”. I was categorically told that to network with the “worthwhile people”, I need to package myself very well and by that it means that I have to always appear very elegant and maybe expensive even if I would have to achieve that by all means. I was told that I have to look really capable of handling serious business by having the appearance of someone who handles a lot of money. You know what I mean, I guess?

I have been to a couple of business network events and initially, I would be totally lost in the crowd or not even recognized even when I attempted to sound relevant. I learned that it is more important to appear relevant than try to sound relevant because nobody would give you a chance to prove that you have content if you are not first of all in a good package.

It was such a struggle, then I decided to ‘up my game’ for example by shopping for better outfits and just when I thought it would get easier, it got worst. Regularly, I would be bombarded with either questions or expressions that refer to the kind of car I drive, where I live, where I get my hair and nails done, where I have holidayed. I would initially be sometimes embarrassed, uneasy, unhappy and even disappointed until I taught myself to grow a tough skin. I vividly remember one encounter with a lady I met at an event here in Lagos a couple of years ago, who totally ignored me when I walked up to her because at the time I was sort of fresh in Lagos and without any ‘game’. I met this same lady recently while in the privileged company of some “meaningful people” and she was a totally different person, I was shocked when she said ‘hello’ to me, and I bet she didn’t even remember me.

To a reasonable extent, I now understand how to handle such pressures and that did not happen until I had a deeper knowledge of self discovery and that knowledge boosted my self-confidence.  Now I don’t let myself get easily boxed in. I tell myself that I am worth more than what meets the eye. Sometimes I even say it out, I tell who cares to listen that I am not my car, I am not my hair, I am not my mobile gadgets, I am definitely not just about my handbag, I am a lot more than what my physical appearance displays.

We all need to understand that there is lot more to a person than their appearance, as a matter of fact sometimes a very expensive and seemingly flashy appearance is false advertising. The bad news is, people are easily persuaded by false advertising. The package may have the potential to convince and persuade but what has the potential to deliver results and earn true respect is the content. I am definitely not saying that the package should be totally over-looked but that the package shouldn’t be the primary measure of consideration and validation. I meet people who face the same challenges and I tell them not to worry so much about the packaging. I tell them that the most expensive and most elegant packaging is self-confidence. You can’t even pick that off a shelf in a designer store, it’s something on the inside of all of us that needs to be worked on constantly because I’m still working on mine.

And more importantly I discovered that most times the ones who make us feel less relevant are even struggling with their self-worth internally while they exude great confidence externally. So at the end of the day, we are all relatively in the same struggle, trying to be relevant, to be heard, to be respected irrespective of our status, to be given a fair chance to prove ourselves.

The good news is, we are all uniquely important, relevant, worthwhile and meaningful. Go and start to build your self-esteem like I am doing and step out in style and I bet you that the world will notice you.
Jesmine Chinwe Onyeukwu is a Productivity/Simplicity Coach, Speaker, Writer, Trainer and the CEO of JessylsCharm, Nigeria’s first and leading Professional Organising/Productivity Company. JessylsCharm helps clients beautify their lives, reclaim their effectiveness and boost their productivity with her space, paper and time management solutions.

Jesmine Chinwe Onyeukwu is an Organising/Productivity Expert, Coach, Speaker, Writer and the CEO of JessylsCharm, Nigeria’s first and leading Organising/Productivity Company. JessylsCharm helps clients beautify their lives, reclaim their effectiveness and boost their productivity with her space, paper and time management solutions.


  1. no heart to hate

    March 5, 2014 at 12:28 pm


  2. wanday

    March 5, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Such a great piece. Very apt post. Packaging without content is not useful. I agree that confidence is a great accessory to have. Many folks r keeping up appearances just to blend with the it crowd.

  3. i no send

    March 5, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    thank you jasmine..someone has told me in the past that “packaging”(which includes giving a false impression of your worth) is everything in lagos (especially)..see how our celebs constantly instagram all sorts of pictures showing of real and imagined luxury items.

  4. fleur rouge

    March 5, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Excellent piece. So typical of Port Harcourt and Lagos crowds. That Is why con men and women get the contracts needed to advance our nation.

  5. Myer

    March 5, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Excellent piece. So typical of Port Harcourt and Lagos crowds. That Is why con men and women get the contracts needed to advance our nation.

  6. Nosey

    March 5, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Agree. But also I find most Nigerians are fickle anyway and tend to go for the superficial e.g what you look like, where you live, car, who is your father, your connections.. etc Its just the way our society is and people better not come here and deny it. If you are looking not looking the part very few people will approach you or even associate with you. Thanks for telling us what we all already know.

  7. Sexxie

    March 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Spot on! To succeed in business in Nigeria especially in Lagos, you must be tough, confident and focused. If not, you can easily be derailed by all the superficial beings all around you. They forget that for some people, success is not often seen. That said, I particularly like one social media photo of a carrot growing in the soil.

  8. A life coach? awesome! I did NOT know we had these in Nigeria

    • Jo!

      March 5, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      Where have you been? Under Olumo rock?

  9. Dr. N

    March 5, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    The worst thing about packaging is it makes people expect too much from you. If you have an accent, I don’t expect you to make common grammatical errors. I just can’t help it! To keep telling me about your trips to heaven n earth, but you can’t come up with intelligent ideas, is a no no. Also, flaunting expensive stuff, means you should be able to pay for things without complaining. Not that you owe for months and months.

  10. pynk

    March 5, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Packaging is a waste. People often spend more time creating falsehood than being about anything. I think presentation is more effective.

  11. toye ogunyemi

    March 13, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Packaging is not a waste its just mis conceived. In perception management. You need to re assess yourself to be relevant. Every foremost business men or politician needs to be package before getting acceptance. We all know Aliko Dangote to be from the Norther part of Nigeria where suit is somehow a taboo, but when it was obvious that Alh Aliko Dangote’s business going through transformation and becoming an international playerr in his area of operations he changed his mode of dressing. He wearing more of suits, he doesn’t eat kolanut any how or anywhere and many more. What about our beauty queens or musicians. They all go through a lot of packaging so as to be acceptable to international standard. Its a deliberate efforts to get public acceptance. Let’s look at Iyanya. I was at the grand finale of the first Project Fame where Iyanya won in 2007 and he did not have the current look but after he was decleared winner he got or set up a management company that will do a total over hauling of his personality as come out with a figure for him. A template that he will follow.
    Parkaging doesn’t mean you have to struggle in debt. Its about knowing who you want to be at a particular time
    Many celebrities are getting it and some are getting it wrong but all the same be yourself if you don’t care about public percepetion.

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