Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Dani Balogun left the shores of the country at age 4, yet by that time, he had inculcated the resilient spirit that Nigerians are known for. With a love for his country, it is clear that everyone needs a Dani in their lives.
While some might describe him as lucky, what they do not know is that Dani took his chances at the right time and is on a journey to making Nigeria succeed as much as Nigerians in the diaspora. He speaks to The Guardian Life on his explored chances, lessons of a lifetime and inspiring hope.
You moved from Lagos to the Netherlands. To what extent did your background influence who you are today?
As a Nigerian, we have hustle pumping through our veins. You can see that all over Nigeria. Often, we are so creative, persistent and courageous that we are not afraid to follow our dreams.
Also, with being privileged by growing up in the West what taught me a lot of things, it gave me a huge benefit to use my experiences, knowledge and expertise back in Africa.
A little birdie tells us that you were a Model, a professional skater and in the army. This is a huge switch. What inspired the career path?
In life, when circumstances change, priorities change. Also, as a very adventurous person, I always seek ways to cross boundaries, new heights and extend my knowledge and capabilities.
And funny enough it was during my (failed) french exam at school that a friend of mine showed a video of the dutch paratroopers and special forces. He said, “to jump out of planes you don’t need to learn french” Haha. It was a stupid excuse but a sentence I never forgot and I signed up a couple of months later.
Was there an incident in your life that made you know that you are definitely making the right decision or that was right at that time?
You never know how things turn out. Nobody has the intention to make decisions that will lead to a bad outcome. We make decisions with our best thinking. Plus, I think when you do things out of pure sincerity and firm belief it could only turn out to a lesson or a blessing. If I have to mention a situation, it would probably be the moment I joined the army against my father’s will which eventually happened to be one of my best choices ever.
You served in the army from 2008-2012, what major life lesson did you learn during service?
You are more capable than you think.
You can endure more challenges/pain than you think initially. Discipline, you need a team and the level of your team must match the level of your dream/vision.
if you have a 10 dream you need a 10 team and even the small things can make the big differences.
Let’s talk about your transition to ACN and the word “luck”. You inspired a lot of people with your speedy rise to become ‘Regional Vice President.’ What does luck mean to you and why would you rather not have that describe you?
Luck in my opinion is that moment when preparation and opportunity meet each other.
The only thing I can sincerely say I was lucky with is not listening to the wrong people. Because if you listen to the wrong voice you’ll make the wrong choice and I was fortunate to have the right people around me, who showed me the right opportunity at the right time in my life.
When people tell me I was lucky, I think about the times I worked while they were partying, sleeping or doing other things that didn’t benefit anything they want in life but are not willing to work for. I thought winter in the summer and that is the difference between me and most people who call me ‘’lucky’’ which is the exact reason why wouldn’t have luck describe me.
Like my mentor once told me; It’s better to be prepared and not having an opportunity then to have an opportunity and not to be prepared. Work hard and smart and luck will eventually come and look for you.
You are passionate about sustainable living. It is because of this that your company in Nigeria, Sulex International, exists alongside your medical centre. What is it about Nigeria that you want to see change and why is it in those particular sectors where you have established businesses?
I want Nigeria to become a leading nation in the world. We have a lot of work to do but in a couple of generations, it’s possible. Sustainability is always aligned with a longterm perspective and that’s what I would like to see in most of the things I do.
I would also love to see that the nation work on infrastructure, education, the youth, health and most important; providing an opportunity for all Nigerians to have a life where they can design a future with their families and leave a legacy for their kids.
What is your favourite colour and what quote does it remind you of?
My favourite colour is purple. My associations with purple are intuition, decisiveness, guidance, mystery and adventure.
In addition, it is a colour that is seen as spiritual and that is associated with vision, truth and wisdom. The colour is uplifting and calming and can stimulate creativity at the same time!
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