When you turn 50 and have overcome so many hurdles, you definitely have the right to BRAG about all the wisdom and lessons you have acquired.
There is a popular statement that "nature gives you the face you have at twenty but its up to you to merit the face you have at fifty". It is not every day an influencer leaps into their golden age - even though we have to agree that turning 50 might be the youth of old age. It is without a doubt, that today's interview guest shows no sign of slowing down or dimming her lights. That's why we are super excited to sit down with our "BRAG Influencer Spotlight" - Clara Rufai featured in our Bold Winter 2019 Issue (see featured magazine issue here)
In this interview, Our Editor-in-Chief, Alex Okoroji got a chance to ask the Shine Strategist- Clara, a few questions about turning 50, the mission behind the SHINE philosophy, her upcoming projects and so much more. Read Below and Enjoy!
1. What does it feel like to turn 50 and be the SHINING example of what it takes to express one's brilliance?
Here's the truth as I know it - Life isn't all peaches and cream for everyone. The past couple of years I've wondered what the view might look like, from the 5th floor of life. I longed to see that view, even though I was a little apprehensive, sometimes...
Would I have done enough?
Would I have lived enough?
Would I have given enough?
Would I have shone my light bright?
Or put more simply: would I have given life my very best shot? Thankfully, the 5th floor is also quite a vantage point; you know, like the peak, the pinnacle. It is where life is (or can be) FAB, FAVOURED and FLOURISHING. By the time we arrive on the 5th floor, we should hopefully have learned enough lessons to see us through the next 50 years.
Personally, some of my lessons have been bitter and hard, but I would not have it any other way, because they've taught me RESILIENCE and tenacity.
"Each lesson has helped me access new levels of WISDOM, DIGNITY, and COURAGE. Each lesson has helped me ascend to new levels of maturity. With each lesson I've learned, I've climbed up one more rung on the ladder of life." - Clara Rufai
The 5th Floor is POPPING!!!
I was Born To Conquer - B.T.C!
I am ready to do this 50's thing!
I am so Ready to S.H.I.N.E - ready to Soar Higher Into New Expressions.
2. Tell us a little bit about the Shine Philosophy.
The ‘SHINE Philosophy’, is a transformational ideology based on the BELIEF that as
people intentionally designed with Purpose, every individual carries within them a light of greatness. Some people think of it as a belief system, others think of it as a mindset or a way of living. It is all those things rolled into one.
"The Shine Philosophy is a strategy for living a purpose-driven life, as it encourages us to look inward, to connect with our inner greatness and to showcase our brilliance."
- Clara Rufai
The Shine Philosophy spent many years cooking in the oven. It was borne out of my
life-changing experience of overcoming severe depression after the tragic loss of my two
younger sisters in one day. It threw me into extreme depression, but as I began to heal, I
became consumed with a desire to immortalise my sisters. I wanted to find a way to
honour their memory.
"I made a decision to make my own life count, seeing that their own lives had been cut short. The only way I knew to do this was to discover my life’s purpose and shine with it".
- Clara Rufai
That’s what I refer to as my ‘shine journey’, - my journey of self-acceptance and
self-actualisation as it were. But to be honest, I didn’t really recognise it as such until
many, many years later, after my fair share of ups and downs and twists and turns. I
eventually came to recognise the connection. I saw how that particular tragedy was interconnected with so many things - my upbringing, my leadership qualities, my love for inspiring people through my writing, and my desire to celebrate others.
Finally in 2016, I crafted my thoughts into an ideology which I called the ‘Shine
Philosophy’. It became my strategic guideline which I’ve been using to empower people
with the understanding of what it means to operate with a ‘personal brilliance mindset’.
The Shine Philosophy teaches that everyone has shine-ability, which are qualities inside
a person that they can harness to help them SHINE.
You could ask me what it means to shine, and I’ll tell you, it means to (S)oar (H)igher
(I)nto (N)ew (E)xpressions. That’s because shining is about striving to improve
ourselves, while constantly seeking new ways to express our brilliance. Expressing our
brilliance is simply shining the spotlight on those qualities that make us unique. On the
other hand, the S.H.I.N.E. in the Shine Philosophy also represents the ‘5 strategic shine
steps’: (S)tart, (H)arness, (I)dentify, (N)etwork and (E)xpress.
Honestly, I could go on and on about the Shine Philosophy as it is the foundation of the
work I do as a thought leader and influencer, but let me stop here for now.
3. What is your mission, why do people need the SHINE STRATEGIST in their lives?
As the Shine Strategist, my mission is to awaken people to their inner greatness so they
can shine the spotlight on their brilliance. And I will explain.
As I said earlier, we all carry the torch of greatness within us, but the sad reality is that
sure enough, the pressures of life will come along and douse the fire of our brilliance.
This is why so many of us are living only a tiny fraction of who we really are. However,
we are not here merely to go through the motions of living, we are here for a bigger
purpose. Many of us either do not realise this fact or we forget it in the course of life and we proceed to just do business as usual.
There’s something Alicia Keys once said that comes to mind now – it really resonates
with me. She said, “things can really feel empty in this world, it can become a
meaningless place if you don’t really understand the questions of Who am I, Why am I
here, What am I doing?” Alicia says that “to feel fulfilled and have a deeper level of
understanding, is the most important thing in life”. I mean, you think about it yourself - she is spot-on correct, isn’t she!
"A lot of us have lost touch with what truly matters in life. Either we’ve not asked these questions or, we have not found the answers we need to propel us forward and bring us
in alignment with our life goals. It means we are missing the most important quotient in life – fulfillment." - Clara Rufai
This is where I come in as the Shine Strategist. I empower people with
the mindset to break out of their prisons of limitation, so they can express their fullest
potentials and make the difference they were born to make in the world. And I wrap all of this around my natural ability to lead and to inspire change.
4. As "The Shine Strategist", what would you say has been your biggest impact and how do you think you influence people to express their brilliance?
Thank you for that question! You see, even though I influence people in different ways
through different media, now that I think about it, my greatest impact is through my
weekly podcast, The Shine Capsule. I intentionally designed the Shine Capsule as an
audio capsule – a mindset pill that people can ingest to help people shine from the
inside-out. This is because success is an inside job! I also believe that the greatest
battles of life are the battles you and I fight in our minds on a daily basis. I thought: “How can I help people win those battles in the mind?”.
"So the Shine Capsule is my answer to that question. That’s why I created it, to effectively equip people with a possibility mindset so they are empowered to win their mind battles, unlock their shine factor, embrace their brilliance and SHINE!" - Clara Rufai
The Shine Capsule podcast is almost two years old, and with each episode, the feedback has been great. The feedback I’ve been getting assures me that people find it valuable for helping them get clarity. From finding the courage to step out of their comfort zones - to embarking on new projects, to acquiring the confidence to SHINE the spotlight on their brilliance, the Shine Capsule is influencing change in people.
Here’s one thing I know to be true: for us to grow in our career, in business or even life in general, we must continuously take new steps. The reality is, we often need someone
solid to hold our hands, as we take that big leap.
"I certainly needed someone to hold my hand when I started my journey. Even today, I work with a brand strategist who makes it easy for me to shine. This is the sort of help that I wanted to make available to others through my Shine Capsule podcast." - Clara Rufai
I’m thankful to have been able to achieve that, but for me personally, I find it very exciting to be able to reach beyond my geographical location. To influence people globally through my podcast is like a privilege, and I find it hugely empowering on a personal level.
So yes, I would say the Shine Capsule podcast is a great tool of influence.
5. You have a mentoring platform called TSMH. Can you throw more light on how it is different from the mentoring program (SMP) you are about to launch at the upcoming LEAP AND SHINE CONFERENCE 2020.
Another great question, and one which I’m excited to answer!
Look, if you think about the main objective that both these expressions set out to
achieve, which is EMPOWERMENT, you’ll surely see similarities of purpose and intention. I say they’re related but not quite the same, and I’ll explain:
The Shine Mentoring Hub is a transformational mentoring group located on the Whatsapp platform. The purpose of TSMH is to promote the all-round development of its members. The idea is very simple: we invite thought-leaders and influencers who graciously offer their time and expertise for free. Hub members are globally dispersed, they’re people who want access to knowledge that they can implement to achieve results. I believe in harnessing digital resources to deliver value and create change. With TSMH, I basically used the Whatsapp platform to create a global learning space, so people can access learning through their mobile phone, from wherever they are.
On the other hand, with the Shine Mentoring Programme (SMP) the idea is to take
EMPOWERMENT to the next level by enabling EVERYBODY to SHINE. The SMP will work
with different demographic groups and will create Shine Ambassadors - youth, women,
entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, philanthropreneurs, start-ups, professionals, and those
seeking to move from 9 to 5 to START their own businesses, those who may have retired
from active work or employment and are seeking ways to express themselves.
It will provide participants with resources (such as the blueprint, strategies, platforms,
expert mentoring, digital intelligence and so on) designed to meet them where they are,
and then, to support them on their shine-journey to success. The idea is that these
people would graduate from the Shine Academy to become ambassadors of the Shine
Philosophy in their respective endeavours.
6. How do you handle your day job as a lawyer and a legal compliance manager along with running the SHINE EMPIRE?
DIGITAL POWER, pure and simple! I rely heavily on digital resources to help me show up
as an Influencer, in spite of the many hats that I wear. Whether it is my website to my
Shine Capsule podcast, to the Shine Mentoring Hub which I run on Whatsapp, to the
Shine Zone community on Facebook. I could not do all that I do without digital resources.
I have an extremely demanding day job as a legal and compliance manager in the
investment management sector. And I also have other parts of me that I am passionate
about expressing. I have to make sure I prioritise my responsibilities at my corporate day
job, so the only way to play catch-up with all my passion projects is to exploit digital
resources to the fullest. There’s just no other way. It is the soul of my business.
"Digital power is something that every business owner MUST tap into if they want to stay the course. Gone are the days when we used to refer to it as the future face of business, digital technology is now the current live-wire. It is the only way to build an influencer-business today. No doubt about that." - Clara Rufai
I personally see no other way of being effective at the work that I do as an influencer and thought-leader. Just as an example, in 2016, my very first global online summit happened brilliantly, and it was all thanks to the power of digital technology. I brought together 13 influencers from 4 continents as speakers on the Leap and Shine Virtual Conference. In fact, let me put it in perspective for you by saying this: without digital technology, I would still be the voiceless, frustrated corporate lawyer I was many years ago before I started building the SHINE Empire.
Years ago, I was juggling being a Mum with a high-pressure career, and of course, I found
it extremely challenging. I’m a creative spirit, so I had a lot of soft skills but I wasn’t sure
how to find expression for them. I had dreams but no clue how to actualise them. I was
sleep-deprived and always rushed for time. I could never seem to balance things out.
Honestly, that was a really low season in my life. Today, I love being the Influencer who
looked her fears in the face, and started maximizing her voice through the power of
digital influence! I'm shining as a podcaster, coach, mentor and business owner -
alongside my demanding corporate day job.
So, although managing to keep all the balls in the air is amazing, it is quite tough, and it
would not be possible without virtual mediums to be able to showcase all the elements of my brilliance!
That’s why I was excited to speak on 'How To Own Your influence' at an 'Influencer
Roundtable' organised by WSquare, India’s first co-working and incubation center for
women entrepreneurs in collaboration with GoDaddy and PayPal. It was an incredible
honour to share my digital influencer journey with over 100 women entrepreneurs and
startups at WSquare’s London Conclave event.
7. We see several global speakers will be in attendance for the 2020 LEAP AND SHINE CONFERENCE in London, what should be the expectation of the attendees from the line-up of speakers at the event?
I feel particularly proud of the pedigree of speakers that have said “Yes” to partnering
with us at the Leap and Shine Conference happening LIVE in London – a very fine crop of global experts. We have speakers joining us from the United States, Dubai, India, and Nigeria. These are influencers who have all distinguished themselves in diverse ways. Take a look at the leap and shine conference website and you’ll see what I mean. I’m really excited about the combined value they will be bringing to the conference. Attendees can expect to get fresh insights and targeted help that they can implement to start seeing immediate results in their careers, businesses, and life in general. This conference is aimed at positioning attendees in a vantage place so they can upscale and advance to their next-levels.
8. Speaking of influence, what kind of support and resources are made available to help people get started?
As the Shine Strategist, I have absolute confidence in offering the Shine Steps for anyone wanting to get unstuck and get moving towards their goals. They simply need to follow the S.H.I.N.E. steps, i.e. (S)tart, (H)arness, (I)dentify, (N)etwork and (E)xpress. This is the best route to achieving ‘Personal Brilliance’.
Another tool I like to recommend is the Shine Assessment Audio Guide to help people
begin the process of discovering their shine factor so they can unleash their brilliance. It
is available as a free download on my website. Anyone serious about success must of course "get started" – and the Shine Assessment represents the first step of that success journey.
Our Whatsapp group The Shine Mentoring Hub is also open to accepting more members,
as is our Facebook community The Shine Zone. We welcome anyone as long as they are
serious about getting started with harnessing and expressing their brilliance.
9. Where can people get more information about the upcoming LEAP and SHINE CONFERENCE?
All information about the conference can be found on there, including our sponsorship
packages, a fantastic opportunity for business owners to showcase services, products, and ideas and opportunities to partner with us and be recognised as our pioneer Shine Ambassador.
More About Clara Rufai - The Shine Strategist
Clara Rufai is a UK and commonwealth-qualified Lawyer with 28 years of work experience in legal, compliance and regulatory work mainly within financial services and investment management sector in London. Apart from her primary work as a Corporate Lawyer and Compliance Manager, she also expresses other parts of herself as an Author, Podcaster, Coach, Mentor, and a Globally recognised Speaker. She is the president and founder of a social enterprise, THE SHINE ZONE which specialises in personal development and empowerment creating platforms, strategies, and tools for individuals and groups to find their shine zone(s). In 2019, She was honored with an Iconic Woman Award at the 2019 Annual Global Women Economic Forum (WEF). She is passionate about helping people re-align their lives, so they can travel on a more rewarding and personally fulfilling path in life. As a result, enabling people to Soar Higher Into New Expressions - by empowering them with the skills to (S)tart, (H)arness, (I)dentify, (N)etwork and (E)xpress their Brilliance.