Embrace Your Greatness. Affirm Yourself. Live your life to the fullest. Face every challenge head-on. Mireille Toulekima, our inspirational person of the month, a successful engineer, published author, mentor and so much more, embodies all those aspects and shares with us her exciting, inspiring and motivating journey. I met this incredible woman at a Les Brown event my husband and I attended a few years ago. What a refreshing and striking encounter! We immediately clicked! What made this encounter even more special was the fact that we were from the same country.. Gabon. It is a small country with a very small population. We really thought that we would be the only Gabonese citizens in the audience, until she introduced herself : ” My name is Mireille Toulekima, I am from Gabon and I am very excited to attend this event”. Despite the distance, our relationship is growing stronger. Mireille is an extraordinary woman, wife, mother, mentor, …you name it… she bubbles with energy and definitely knows her purpose in life. She agreed to be interviewed and I really hope you get inspired to unleash your true potential. Mireille Toulekima invites you to Embrace Your Greatness.
Mireille, you are a multifaceted inspiring, self-driven, ongoing engineer, published author, life coach, mentor… I could go on and on with this… please tell us more about your multifaceted career.
I am indeed multi-skilled and self-driven. I am a risk taker who enjoys big challenges. The love for big challenges gets me going. I always raise the bar high for myself. I go the extra miles. I try to be the best that I can be. That’s how I managed to become the multifaceted woman I am today.
I am a Petroleum Engineer by profession who has grown to become an oil and gas expert, a mentor, a published author, a speaker and a life coach on top of my role as a mother, a wife, a sister, a friend and a public figure.
How do I do it? I sincerely don’t know. I just keep on going forward and I embrace every challenges and opportunities in my life. In each challenge, I see a blessing in disguise. I just love constantly challenging myself! I love my life, I love my energy, I love the opportunities and challenges that life presents to me. I made the decision several years ago to become great and live an inspiring life in spite of my humble beginnings back in Gabon, my country of birth. The challenges and setbacks on my journey are just stepping stones to the greatness I am creating and sustaining. All that I have been able to accomplish so far has evolved around my moto which is:
Don’t let life happen to you. Decide to leave nothing on the table of life” Mireille Toulekima.
What is the defining moment in your life that led you to this day?
One of the key defining moment that led me to this day is the death of my father. I was very closed to my dad. He was a mentor and coach to me and his absence was greatly felt by me after he left us. I was finishing my bachelor in France at that time and with dad passing, I could not continue my studies because I did not have enough money to continue to live and study in France. After I successfully passed my Bachelor degree, I went back to Gabon to look for a job. I had several interviews with different companies and after a string of unsuccessful interviews, I got a positive outcome with Shell who offered me a job as Petroleum Engineer. I had studied IT, Maths and physics but did I know what a Petroleum Engineer was supposed to do? Not at all!
It was a very challenging but interesting time in my life, certainly one that I’ve learned a lot from and grown considerably from. I entered the petroleum industry as a complete neophyte. I was going to work in the middle of the jungle in a small town located in the Coastal Plain region of Gabon called Gamba. I could barely speak English (which was the language of communication in Shell) and on top of that, most of my Shell colleagues had all graduated from the best and famous international technical universities like Imperial College, Deft University, Texas university, Oklaoma university etc.. and I was coming from a small, almost unknown Technical university situated in the small city of Angers in the western part of France. I felt a little bit out of my league (I don’t know why though!). The challenge was real!! But despite the fear and the doubts that crept in at the beginning of my journey in the oil and gas industry, I did it anyway!
I started learning English at the local training centre in Gamba, then I got introduced to the industry through proper training at Shell training centres in Europe. Slowly but surely, I started realizing that I was there for a reason and it was my duty and mission to excel. Despite all the challenges and obstacles, I was going to make it in the oil and gas industry. My determination and my confidence grew stronger day by day. Today, I am still in it and excelling after more than twenty years.
A never-ending determination, a strong confidence and belief in myself were key to me accomplishing what I thought impossible when I started off in the industry. I am amazed by how much I’ve grown so far in the process and remember, it all started from one defining very painful moment: the death of my father!
From this experience, I learnt that all problems are opportunities in disguise when we adopt the right mind-set.
What has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge has been to balance my multifaceted career with motherhood. I’ve always wanted to be a mother but I did not want to be a stay at home mum for three reasons: (1) I think being a stay at home mum is one of the most difficult job in the word and I didn’t think I was ready to take the job, (2) I enjoyed working in the oil and gas industry and I really wanted to continue working, (3) I felt that I would be a better and less stressed mum if I was not staying full time at home with my children.
Finally, with lots of guilt, I decided to continue working when I had my girls. I was able to have an accomplished international career and a fulfilling motherhood journey. My husband and I had to strategize big time and work as a team to make things work out for us. We would for example mostly take assignments in countries where we could have access to easy child care at a competitive price and when required, I would ask to work part time or from home to accommodate the girls. Now, that our children are grown up and independent, I can have and I can enjoy the multifaceted full speed career that I have. No more guilt! Just freedom to make a difference in the world.
As Zig Ziglar eloquently stated: ” motivation does not last. Neither does shower. That’s why we need it every day”. What or who keeps you moving forward?
What or who keeps me moving forward?
- My girls keep me moving forward. I want to be a role model to them and incite them to dream big and convince them that they can become whoever they decide to become.
- Keeping the legacy of my dad alive. My dad was an education champion. He sacrificed everything to make sure I and my siblings get to study in the best schools and universities. He has always told us that education is at the center of everything and that with a formal education and by being lifelong learners, we could become anything we wanted and nobody could take it away from us.
- Finally, I made a commitment to myself five years ago to give back to society and help others to become the best that they can be in order to come out of the masses and stand in their own shining light!
These are the key things that keep me moving forward!
You are actively working as a mentor, an inspiring woman, a published author. What is your purpose in life? How did you find your life purpose?
My purpose in life is to become the best that I can be and empower others to awaken the greatness within them and encourage them to have a positive attitude to life that will serve a lasting legacy.
I was not always very clear about my life purpose until recently. I knew I loved working with people. I knew I had a passion for education, mentoring and coaching. I knew I liked discovering new cultures, new concepts and new processes. I knew I was a lifelong learner who was always striving to acquire new knowledge and wanted to have a global impact. I then started to reflect on what I had accomplished in my life, on how I felt, on the direction I wanted to give to my life, on the people I wanted to be surrounded with. I also tried to understand who I was and why I was here. This has allowed me to understand my life purpose, how I wanted to be remembered and to know the legacy I want to build. Ultimately, I want my life to be an inspiration to others.
What is your philosophy of life?
My philosophy of life is simple:
Everything starts with a thought and a decision to take action and make it happen. Because the source of our thoughts is unlimited, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.It all comes down to how we discipline our thoughts and our willingness to take actions.
Any upcoming projects?
I have two big projects in the pipeline for December 2017 and January 2018.
- I will be officially launching the Mireille Toulekima Global Leadership organisation in December 2017. I am currently developing the D.A.R.E (Decide Act Review Extend) Authentic leadership Method which will be the leadership signature of the organisation. The organisation will be looking for global ambassadors around the world to champion the newly developed method and all the programs offered by the organisation.
- I will also be the host of an Online Global Show called “The Greatness engineering” starting January 2018. The show will feature individuals who have been able to create greatness and make a difference in the life of others. I will be looking for VIP guests who would like to share their stories.
Any advice for the audience of http://www.newmoi.org?
Each one of us is born with the gift of greatness. Just decide to be great and act accordingly. Be clear about your life purpose. There are no limits to what you can accomplish. Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacles. The limit for you is not the sky. Your mind is the limit.
Your favorite quote?
“It is in your hands to create a better world for you and for all who live in it” Nelson Mandela
Thank you Mireille.
Aren’t you stunned? Breath-taken? Isn’t she inspiring? This is what happens when one decides to embrace life and live to the fullest. I hope this inspirational true life story will empower you to become the best you can be, to face obstacles head-on, to unleash your true potential, to face your fears and to live an exciting, fulfilling life.
Break free from your fears. Your dreams must be greater than your fears. Eva Arissani
Embrace Your Life. Chase your dreams. Live an extraordinary life.
Eva Arissani, Inspirational & Motivational Speaker, Published Author of New Moi New Life : Five Ways to Build a New You and Live an Extraordinary Life, Founder of http://www.newmoi.org, Blogger, Sworn Translator (Fr/Eng/Fr), Professional French Trainer, French voice over artist, Facilitator