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'Black men can achieve greatness'

INSPIRING: Ife Thomas

“WE BELIEVE that life is too short to be stuck doing a job that is uninspiring and soul destroying.”

This is the thinking that led Ife Thomas to launch her business Mind Workout. A motivational project, Mind Workout provides a 12-step guide to get you where you want to be this time next year.

Though the programme is aimed at everyone, Thomas highlighted men – particularly black men – in a bid to encourage them to see the greatness within themselves.

“We challenge the notion that the only successful black people are celebrities or sports professionals,” Thomas explains. “We believe that black men have greatness within them and the potential to do extraordinary things. We have a vision of a world where it’s normal to see black men in top positions and the CEOs of British corporations.

“Our tag line is ‘work out your mind like you work out your body.’ This is because the same principles that you require to build muscle and keep fit are the same principles that you need to be in control of your life.”

Mind Workout is a 12-month programme that gives its participants the tools to get where they want to be in life. After enrolling in the course, those taking part will receive an e-book and login details that will enable them to unlock a chapter full of advice, guidance and tasks each month.

“Many people have good intentions when they buy a book but don’t usually stick with it,” says Thomas. “So eventually, I decided I was going to release each chapter one at a time via an online course. We also have an added a bonus on the course to give members an opportunity to ask any questions relating to the chapter and tasks.

“The questions will be answered live via a monthly call with me. We wanted to create a positive environment with likeminded people who want to be better.”

A former professional dancer, Thomas went on to start a business called National Accountancy Network at the age of 25. The company grew steadily and at its peak, Thomas had 38 chartered accountants who relied on the company to provide them with new business opportunities.

Despite the company’s success, Thomas closed it down in 2014 after realising she had come to hate her job.

“I was working 15 hours a day,” recalls the 31-year-old. “The long hours combined with the stress of paying staff and the pressure of delivering results to our clients was so intense. It was a high-powered, glamorous job but it actually made me feel suicidal.”

Though she made the courageous decision to close her successful company, Thomas realised there were elements of her job that she did enjoy – elements she could use to build her new venture.

“For many years I was fascinated with the science of success and the law of attraction and why some people are more successful than others. I trained the accountants in my network on the psychology of selling and how to win big clients.

“I was contracted into corporate teams all over the UK to train their people on how to perform at their best. I studied micro expressions, psychology, quantum physics, and communication sales and marketing.


MOTIVATION: Thomas’s company aims to inspire everyone, but puts a particular focus on black men

“My real joy in life was working with individuals one on one, cultivating the soil by continuously asking them ‘why?’ My advice encouraged them to plant some seeds on their own and water them and watch them grow.”

Discovering this strength gave Thomas the motivation to launch Mind Workout. But the inspiration to focus on motivating black men in particular came from her own family.

“I started to look at life through the eyes of my husband and my two sons,” says the businesswoman, whose sons are aged two and four. “I realised that nobody is telling them that they can be anything and do anything and that there are a lack of cheerleaders raising their self-esteem.

“Over the last five years, I have got my pom-poms out and been a cheerleader to men and women who wanted and needed encouraging. I have seen an astonishing impact on how they began to see themselves.

“I was able to raise their self-esteem by literally saying, ‘I believe you can do it’ and ‘I believe that you are meant to do great things in life’. These two phrases are true for everyone and just need to be said more often.”

Acknowledging that some men shy away from therapy and counselling, viewing it as a “girly” thing to do, does Thomas have any concerns that men might be all the more put off about receiving mentorship from a woman?

“I was worried about this,” she admits. “But then I went on a girls’ weekend away, where I was exposed to the way some women treat the men in their families.

“I left the three-day weekend an emotional wreck. I finally understood why some men don’t stay around to raise their children. It’s not because they don’t want to, it’s because they don’t believe they can add any value or bring any good to the child’s life.

“I think this is because some of the women whose opinions matter the most to them have very low expectations of them, saying things like: ‘My brother will never make a good dad, he can’t even look after himself.’

“I know many women who are incredibly motivating, but there are some who – perhaps unknowingly – say things that don’t help to raise the self-esteem of the men around them.

“Most of the time, these incredible, beautiful black men just need someone to bet on them. I will continue to put all my chips in. I think they can sense that from me and will be ok with the fact that I’m a woman.”

So what are Thomas’s ultimate aims for Mind Workout?

“To change people’s thinking so they can change their lives. Someone out there who is working as a customer service advisor may have the cure to cancer or an idea that will eradicate world hunger. But instead, they spend eight hours a day logging customer service calls, while counting down the hours until they can go to the gym.

“I think everything is about timing and I believe this is the right time to inspire our black men and change the world we live in.”

For more information and to enroll in the 12-month course, visit www.mindworkout.co.uk

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