Updated: Sep 4, 2020
In the last couple of months, anyone who has bothered to listen to me, or paid me the least bit of attention, has been bombarded with an unending chorus to my latest hit single.
“The glass is half full not half empty”. This has topped the charts for me.
The near cliché won’t let go off me, making its home in the deep recesses of my mind. But what an awakening! It has humbled me, it has energized me, it has challenged me, and made me smile and laugh. Suddenly, I am surrounded by people with different perspectives, not difficult people.
Unexpectedly, I have discovered around me, many more heroes, instead of many more consummate villains. The world, looks new to me. It is not overshadowed by the dreary and daunting anymore. It is shades of grey, with flashes of white and sometimes a golden lining. I owe this to the wonderful people who have always been unafraid to show me their real selves, and perhaps to covid, for giving me time to sit with myself and re-evaluate the world I lived in.
My name is Isabel Boaten - mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, Managing Partner of a top tier law firm in Ghana, and proud African. Suddenly, with a loud thud, the opportunity to be Managing Partner, which I have always been proud of, has taken on a new meaning.
And why? – What an opportunity to support, to teach, to influence, and to learn from unique individuals.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not your average people person, not the soul of the party, not the person to walk up to a stranger at a cocktail party and start the conversation. But in quirky sort of way, I am a people’s person. The potential of people inspires me. To see that timid fresh graduate suddenly come into their own, to see the cocky overbearing young person learn the balance between confidence and the humility to learn from others, to realize that behind that steely exterior of that partner is a heart of gold. That everybody has something good to offer lifts my spirits.
Throughout the years, people have not ceased to amaze me and I have amazed myself sometimes too, for good and for bad. So I thought, I would share in this space, my walk with people particularly in my professional life, as a fresh graduate, a young Associate, Partner and Managing Partner. To share with you my mistakes, my triumphs and the lessons that I learnt. From the naivete of my youthful days - my blinded faith in the goodness of people, to the realization that sheep can be wolves and wolves can be sheep, to the realization most people are hybrids of wolf / sheep. And that you, yourself must decide whether you, will engage with others as wolf or sheep.
The glass is half full not half empty, is a reminder that, just maybe, we should consider embracing people as a whole. Celebrate their good sides, manage their deficiencies or decide that we don’t want to, or support them if they are willing, to be their better selves. Either way, you are a package deal, and so am I. Embracing that reality, I am learning, is the key to peace of mind in dealing with people.
I hope that through this page, I am able to provide inspiration even if from a distance.
Stay with me as I share my thoughts about my journey from then to now, on “Isabel’s Journey of Discovery”.
Isabel Boaten is the Managing Partner of AB & David Ghana, a business law firm in Ghana, which is the founding member of the Pan African law firm, AB & David Africa. She is married to Kofi Apeagyei and has two sons, Kojo and Papa Kofi. Isabel was named as a woman in law to watch, by the Institute of African Women In Law in August.