Passion and Logic: Lessons From Entrepreneurship in Post-Conflict West Africa

May 09, 2023

How I Balanced My Dreams with Reality During the Ebola Crisis

During my seven-year stay in post-conflict West Africa, I trained young men and women in entrepreneurship. This experience taught me invaluable lessons, which I share with you today. I faced many challenges, such as balancing my passion and purpose with the expectations of others, feeling overwhelmed with business activities, and eventually coping with the effects of the Ebola crisis.

The Ebola crisis was one of the most challenging situations I encountered. It affected my work in several ways. Firstly, it reduced the demand for my training as people were more concerned about their health and safety. Secondly, it increased the risk and uncertainty of operating in an unstable environment, as I had to protect myself and my staff from the virus. Thirdly, it tested my emotional and mental resilience as I witnessed the suffering and death of many people around me.

Unfortunately, the Ebola crisis led to the closure of my business. Without learners, I could not sustain the costs of running a training program. I had to ask myself: "Should I leave or stay?" Passion alone couldn't answer that question. It was a tough dilemma, but I ultimately decided to shut down my operations and leave the country. It was heartbreaking to see my dream end, but I also knew it was the best option for me and my team.

Passion was the main reason why I did not give up. It helped me remember the positive impact I had on the lives of my learners and the bigger purpose of my work. Even though my business closed, I continue to live my vision of empowering young women through mentoring, education, and entrepreneurship.

However, more than passion is needed to succeed as an entrepreneur. It needs to be balanced with logic. After Liberia, I had to start from scratch, learn to adapt to my changing needs and realities, and keep my vision. Being flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances and opportunities of the people I want to serve is crucial. Being bold and pivoting or adjusting my strategy if needed is also vital.

As an entrepreneur, you will face difficult questions and challenges when doing business. There will be days when you see your goals disappearing and the sense of possible failure rising. But don't let go of your passion. You need to understand and feel your passion precisely on those days. It is your fuel, your fire, your inspiration. It is what makes you unique and valuable as an entrepreneur.

To get through the bad days, it is essential to understand what matters to you. Adding thought and logic to the mix can help you get straightforward answers. This way, you can stay focused on your passion and overcome the challenges that come your way.

Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Let's continue the conversation and inspire each other to pursue our dreams with passion and logic.

Wishing you all the best on your entrepreneurial journey!