Miracle olatunjI, High School Senior And Entrepreneur Talks Obstacles, Opportunities, And Social Entrepreneurship
By: Chelsea Whitey
Miracle Olatunji is a high school senior who is nothing short of amazing. She grew up with great intentions and inventions to help shape the world we live in from a early age. Today she is the founder of OpportuniME, she's been featured in Forbes, and she has big goals to shake our communities. Miracle believes women are the missing puzzle in the equation of men and business.
Growing up, miracle experienced a fun childhood. From school plays, field trips, and kid television shows. She never experienced a dull day. She even often looks back at old photo albums and smiles because of the precious memories.
From a young age she became very curious about the world around her. She would read and watch the news, and then similar a reporter, she would inform her family and friends about current events. Her family and friends have heard her say “I learned in the news that…” maybe over a million times! Even from a young age, Miracle picked up on how, sadly, there was disproportionately more bad news than good news on TV and in newspapers (almost ubiquitous then). Early on, she knew that the world needed healing.
One other thing she would do is come up with bizarre invention ideas. One such invention idea were shoes that ‘grow’ with your feet. Miracle thought of this idea when she realized that she was growing really fast and her parents had to keep buying her shoes. From a young age, her creative and entrepreneurial mind was at work. The difference between Miracle then and now, is that now she doesn't allow her ideas to just stay ideas. The product was made by a company and shoes that ‘grow’ with your feet actually exist today, Miracle says.
An average day in Miracle's home began would with prayer, reflection, and conversations as a family.
"Having this daily practice instilled in me for years has helped me become a more grateful, honest, and collected individual. Family time really set the stage for my emphasis on building strong relationships with others."
Relationship building and bonding was a big focus everyday!
The major obstacle Miracle had to overcome was self doubt.
"I always like to say that total self confidence is not a destination, but a never-ending journey of stepping out of your comfort zone, and accepting yourself for who you are. It’s very true that the biggest enemy everyone has to overcome is themselves."
What has really helped her with dealing with self doubt is by applying gratitude and self awareness to her thoughts and actions. Her advice is to focus your attention and action towards gratitude and self awareness.
-Gratitude: Miracle says you should find a method that works for you to express gratitude for people, experiences, etc. each and every day. She personally uses a daily gratitude journal and make sure that she expresses gratitude to people whether they’ve helped her a lot or even just a little.
-Self awareness: Identify what your strengths and weaknesses are. Work on improving your weaknesses, but don’t obsess over them. Self awareness teaches us to acknowledge them, work on them periodically, but don’t let them consume your life. Instead, focus more discovering your strengths and making them the best they can be.
Her “gratitude + self awareness = progress in journey of total self confidence” philosophy blends improving relations with others (gratitude) and improving relation with yourself (self awareness).
"I hope that this can help anyone and truly, everyone because we all have our moments and self doubt."
In her upcoming TEDx talk, she's discussing her idea of “Navigating the GPS of Your Life”. Miracle uses the analogy of the GPS to describe the correlation between the act of setting goals in life and plotting the GPS to a destination we’ve never been before. She says the similarities between the two is that there is a lot of uncertainty and unknowns on the journeys to the desired destination or goal.
"And that’s okay. Our paths in life are not usually linear. Oftentimes, we’ll have to recalculate our routes, or even reroute entirely."
This idea of ‘navigating’ your life’s GPS is the approach she uses. Miracle allows herself to be open to new opportunities and experiences. She doesn't allow any pre-set PLANS to distract her from the POSSIBILITIES.
Currently, she's started two entrepreneurial ventures that she's extremely passionate about: OpportuniME and The MIRACLE (MI-Making impacts, RA-Raising awareness, CLE-Creating learning experiences) Organization. She plans to continue focusing on collaboration and action to turn her ideas into reality and she knows that she will learn a lot along the way. She's also very interested in computer science & technology, economics, psychology, finance, and history. She plans to dedicate more time to learn about those subjects in college and beyond.
I love to start ventures with the goal of empowering, enlightening, and educating others through social entrepreneurship and ventures that solve problems and fill a customer need through entrepreneurship. That’s the mission of The MIRACLE Organization and the mission I have for myself.
Changing The World
"I would like to see more efforts in democratizing access to opportunities and opportunity for all people."
Opportunities are powerful and life changing, Miracle says.
"The word ‘opportunity’ is defined as a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. One way we can increase opportunities is by sharing and creating opportunities for opportunity (*see definition). Sharing and creating opportunities for opportunity means: giving introductions to key people, mentoring others, and sharing information about internships, enrichment programs, and more. These actions are what will help people gain the experiences that will advanced them towards their goals."
Last year, she realized that the process of finding meaningful opportunities as a high school student was broke. She says it is time-consuming, stressful, and often futile. This led her to start OpportuniME, which is an opportunity newsletter and mission-driven company with the goal of providing access to the best, high quality opportunities for high school students. This entrepreneurial venture has equipped her with various skills that are helpful to her as a leader and change maker.
Starting OpportuniME has given her a new mindset of seizing opportunities that exist and creating opportunities that don’t exist. Opportunities are the keys that unlock the door to passion, career, and self discovery and she wants to make sure that high school students have the opportunities to experience this. Future plans for OpportuniME include expanding focus from high school students to all people to create a global culture of democratized access to opportunities and opportunity.
Miracle says the fear of speaking in public is at the top of the list for a lot of people! This is because having to speak in public involves putting yourself, your opinions, and your ideas out there where they are open for the scrutiny and judgement of others.
"It’s a really unsettling feeling that makes a lot of people really self conscious. When you’re ‘put on the spot’ like that, it makes you feel really vulnerable."
She believes that public speaking is becoming such a valuable asset because of how it complements other areas of your personal or professional life. Personally, she has found that working on improving my public speaking skills has helped her become a better communicator, listener, entrepreneur, and a better individual- because of how much more confident and empowered it makes her feel. What she tells people that she coaches on public speaking is that one of the keys to taming nerves and delivering a great talk is just being confident in the message that you’re giving. Public speaking is about connecting with your audience but it all starts with you.
"Can you connect with and be confident in your own message?"
She wants people to know that their ideas matter and they shouldn’t be afraid to share them with others!
Life As A Brand Ambassador
In the past, Miracle has been an ambassador for various organizations and they were awesome experiences that she believes has taught her valuable leadership, marketing, and management lessons which help her run the two organizations that she founded.
Currently, she is an ambassador for two really amazing organizations: The Diamond Challenge and Headbands of Hope. The Diamond Challenge, by the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship, is the largest global entrepreneurship concept competition for high school students in the world. Participants learn to conceive and test new ideas for business and social enterprises, and earn a chance to access $100K in awards. The mission is to empower students from around the world to pursue their passions and change the world through entrepreneurship.
As an ambassador, I’m a leader, liaison and community builder between the Horn Entrepreneurship Team and Diamond Challenge participants. The Diamond Challenge is an amazing opportunity and there’s an exciting Youth Entrepreneurship Summit that takes place afterwards! I love it.
Headbands of Hope is an online accessory store that practices the buy one-give one business model: For every headband sold, one is donated to a child with cancer. The organization also practices philanthropy through headband donations to hospitals and health care centers.
Personally, I’ve facilitated the donation of headbands to over twenty five children’s hospitals and healthcare facilities across the nation, a total of $30,000 in donations. Another part of the ambassador role is helping out with marketing and sales. The cool thing that happened recently was the company named a headband after me as another way of saying thank you! It was pretty cool. The company's mission is wonderful and it amazes me how something as simple as a headband can be a way of telling someone that others care for them and that they are loved. One of my best friends from middle school lost their grandparent to cancer and that also was a motivating factor for my interest in Headbands of Hope.
Miracle believes the ability to get people to join forces with you lies in your ability to get them to resonate with the mission of your organization. She believes if you have a strong mission statement that you and your team execute on well, people will want to be part of your organization- whether that’s as customers, supporters, investors, etc. This is what gets Miracle and millions of other people excited about these two organizations in particular!
To learn about Miracle Olatunji, follow her on twitter @mirolatunji.
https://speakerhub.com/speaker/miracle-olatunji (speaking bookings)