“Unlocking Mo Abudu’s Success Blueprint: The Leadership And Success Secrets Of Africa Most Powerful Woman” By Kolapo Mustapha
Immersed in a world of captivating stories and fuelled by an insatiable curiosity, I’ve delved into the biographies of countless achievers. Yet, it was Mo Abudu‘s story, intricately woven with success and leadership, that truly captivated my storytelling soul. A prominent Nigerian media mogul and filmmaker, known for her contributions to the entertainment industry. She is the founder and CEO of EbonyLife Media, a leading media and entertainment company in Nigeria and by extension, Africa.
Mo Abudu has been recognised for her achievements, including being listed by Forbes as one of the most powerful women in Africa. She is also the executive producer of several successful TV shows and movies, making significant strides in promoting African content on a global scale. A maestro in filmmaking and a force to be reckoned with, Mo Abudu’s life unfolded before me like a roadmap to triumph.
In my exploration, I unravelled the secrets that propelled Mo Abudu to the summit of the entertainment industry. From her captivating journey, I’ve distilled these principles into an article initially coined ‘The Way of Winner,’ later rechristened as ‘The Leadership and Success Secrets of Mo Abudu.’ Join me on this odyssey of discovery, as I unveil the timeless truths gleaned from the life of the iconic Mo Abudu, who keeps shaping a narrative that transcends borders and sets a global standard for leadership and success in Africa.
#SECRET 1: MO ABUDU IS A PROBLEM SOLVER
After being recognised as one of the 20 most powerful women in global entertainment in a report by The Hollywood Reporter, Mo Abudu said and I quote, “The gatekeepers to our global industry are mainly middle-aged white men, trying to keep people like me out. It’s three times worse for women like me. I have to deal with not only being a woman, a black woman and an African woman telling black and African stories. Most of these gatekeepers are afraid of taking risk on such stories. They would rather stick to the status quo. So my task is to convince them otherwise, and convince them I shall and I am.”
In my study of biographies of achievers, I discovered a common denominator. Successful people are simply problem solvers. Their success and happiness in life depends on their willingness to help someone or people solve their problem. Successful surgeon solves complex health problems. A successful attorney solves complex legal problems. Mo Abudu saw the need to push diverse narratives from Africa and its diaspora on global platforms like Netflix. While many complained about the lack of global recognition of Africa’s rich storytelling heritage, Mo Abudu chose to bear the burden and solved the problem. She’s a Problem-Solver, this is one of the success secrets of Mo.
#SECRET 2: MO ABUDU BELIEVED IN HER PRODUCT
“I think when you feel you’re ready and prepared for a career change, it’s vital to cast away your doubt and just go for it nonetheless” – Mo Abudu (The Cut 2023)
Look at the life of Mo, she believed it was time for Africans to take responsibility and own our narrative and by extension, be committed to fostering our diverse narratives on global platforms.
Doubt is deadly and our thoughts have presence. Our thoughts are capable of drawing people toward us or driving people away from us. No man has ever succeeded in any adventure or business unless they believe in that business. Mo Abudu believed in her product, this is one of the success secrets of Mo.
#SECRET 3: MO ABUDU UNDERSTOOD TIMING AND PREPARATION
“Truly, it’s an honour to be in development and production with these international studios and production companies. It’s important to note that many of our projects are in development. We have learned so much about the process of developing big budget projects. It takes time but we are making progress on all fronts” – Mo Abudu (2021)
The quality of preparation determines the quality of performance. It is the habit of champions to plan and prepare, because planning is the starting point for any dream or goal that you possess. Planning is laborious, tedious, meticulous and grilling. Successes are usually scheduled events. Failures are not. Champions do not become champions in the ring. They are merely recognised in the ring. Their becoming happens in their daily routine. Mo Abudu always takes her time to plan and prepare, this is one of the success secrets of Mo.
#SECRET 4: MO ABUDU NEVER ALLOWED WHAT OTHERS SAID ABOUT HER TO CHANGED HER OPINION OF HERSELF
“A recent life lesson for me was accepting that it was okay to be considered aggressive where a man is considered strong” – Mo Abudu (2020)
This is one of the leadership traits I cherished most in Mo. She knows that it is not what men say about her that really matters in life. It is what she believes about herself. She knew what she was really about. She believed in herself, her vision and she knew her accusers were ignorant, unlearned and arrogant. She knew they simply feared her. People always fight what they do not understand. The mind will always resent what it cannot master.
Accusations and slanderous lies have come against great leaders as well as Jesus. This is life. But one beautiful thing about Mo is, she never begged anyone to believe in her. She knew that integrity cannot be proven, it must be discerned. She never wasted time with critics. She kept her attention on her goal. She stayed focused. She never strived to look good. She’s simply good. She did not labour to appear truthful. She’s truthful and she never struggled to have a good reputation. She has character.
Every successful person wants to be loved and admired, but your enemies and critics will never leave your reputation unstained and untarnished. Mo rises above that fact. She never allows what others say about her to change her personal opinion of herself. Never. This is one of the success secrets of Mo Abudu.
#SECRET 5: MO ABUDU KNEW WHEN YOU WANT SOMETHING YOU HAVE NEVER HAD, YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING YOU HAVE NEVER DONE
“Lot of people probably thought it was a mid-life crisis, me waking up and choosing to get into the world of media. But I think there was something deep down in my soul that I felt there was a real need in Africa, for local content and local storytelling. As African, I felt we have to tell our own stories” – Mo Abudu (2020, BBC)
Thousands will fail in life because they are unwilling to make changes. They refuse to change jobs, cities or friendships. They stay in their comfort zones. Yet thousands of others move up the ladder of happiness and success, because they are willing to go through a little discomfort to experience a new level in life. Sometimes you have to go somewhere you have never been before to taste the extraordinary success that you want to experience. Mo did. She also knew geography makes a difference. Pineapples do well in Hawaii but they do not do very well in Alaska. Atmosphere matters and that’s why she moved to Nigeria at the age of 30 from England, where she was born and mostly raised for a new job at Mobil.
Somebody needs you. Go find them. Activate yourself because success involves people. You may be shy, timid and feel inadequate, but you will not succeed in life unless you are connected to people. People who will enable you to succeed may not always come to you. In fact, they rarely do. You must go to them. You will never possess what you are unwilling to pursue. Mo knew this. Your dream too is connected to people. Success always begins somewhere. Success always begins at some moment. Success always begins with someone. You must go where people are. Mo did. She went where the people were.
Although, it would be another decade after she moved to Nigeria before she started her second act but it was her decision that created the events that led to her incredible accomplishment. You too are a seed. Your business and your product are like seeds. However, just like Mo, you may need to change locations and situations to unlock the full potential of your success. She knew when you want something you have never had, you have to do something you have never done, this is one of the success secrets of Mo.
#SECRET 6: MO ABUDU SET SPECIFIC GOALS
“I decided in 2005 after turning 40, nearly 20 years ago, that I was going to dedicate my life to telling stories. I had no clear direction on the how I was going to do it, but I knew that because I could think it, what was left was the how” – Mo Abudu (2020, BBC)
Mo Abudu knew her purpose and mission. She knew the product she had to offer. She has a sense of destiny. She knew where she wanted to go. She knew where people needed her. She set specific goals, this is one of the success secrets of Mo. Decide what you really want. When you decide ‘exactly’ what you want, the ‘how to do it’ will definitely emerge.
#SECRET 7: MO ABUDU NEVER TRIED TO SUCCEED ALONE
When Oloture became the most watched Nigerian film globally on Netflix in 2020, Mo Abudu wrote on her Instagram handle and I quote, “One thing we do well at EbonyLife is setting standards and breaking records.”
You need people. Success is a collection of relationships. Your future is connected to people, so develop people skills. You need problem solvers in your life. But always remember to never stay where you are not valued. Never stay where you have not been assigned. Know this, God has prepared those to receive you when you are at the place of your assignment. Always disconnect from any place or people that are blinded to your worth.
It is foolish to waste your entire life on those who do not celebrate you. Move on. You are already important. Worth must be discerned. So, never exhaust and waste your energy trying to prove something to somebody else. Mo never did. She never felt she had to prove herself to anyone, but she also never tried to succeed alone because she knew the right people are God’s provision to the manifestation of her God-given vision. This is one of the leadership and success secrets of Mo.
#SECRER 8: MO ABUDU DELEGATED
“At work, Michael Williams, the general manager who handles EbonyLife Place understands my vision and has helped transform it into iconic location that it is today. Even though I’m not always on site, I’m rest assured that he’ll do a good job” – Mo Abudu (The Cut, 2023)
Delegation is simply giving others the necessary instruction and motivation to complete a particular task. This takes time. It takes patience but it has a long-term benefit. Know your limitations. It is more productive to set ten men to work than for you to do the work of ten men. Take time to motivate and educate those you work with, so they know exactly what you expect. Take time to delegate. Mo did. This is one of the leadership secrets of Mo. She stayed in the centre of her expertise. She stays focused. I really believe that broken focus is the real reason many people fail.
In the brief glimpse I’ve shared about Mo Abudu’s life, I’ve uncovered a wealth of wisdom. While time and space constraints prevent a full reveal, I’m confident that, like me, you’re inspired to unlock your greatest miracles by applying the lessons learned. The principles I absorbed from Mo Abudu’s inspiring journey worked. It has multiplied my joy by increasing my ability to succeed a thousand times over. And as the artist treasures his painting, and the master craftsmen, the quality of the violin he created, so our Maker cherishes the dreams, goals, excellence of life, and the happiness you and I are to enjoy.