Meet the Creative: Babs Ofori-Acquah - Creator of Crazy Ambition
Are you a self-confessed workaholic? Busy taking care of clients, scheduling all aspects of your life, 101 things on your to-do list? If so, you need a bit of Babs Ofori-Acquah in your life. Creator of Crazy Ambition - which supports companies with improving their workplace wellbeing - and owner of Adinkra Yoga - a yoga and lifestyle brand which empowers modern women, she’ll be joining us at Float to host her very own Warrior Goddess workshop and we caught up with her to learn more about her work, the distortion of the wellness industry, and why self-care is a non-negotiable!
What is your company, what do you do and what makes it special?
I run two projects - the first, Crazy Ambition, is all about workplace wellbeing. Through this, I teach corporate yoga and give talks on mental health at work. The second is Adinkra Yoga which is all about drawing on ancient traditions and knowledge to empower modern women. So this manifests as loose fitting, comfortable yoga wear in vibrant African prints, and classes and workshops which combine yoga, chanting, other ancient practices and coaching tools.
What makes both of these special is that they are borne out of my own personal journey and experiences. There's something powerful about providing a product or service that you're not just passionate about, but rather connected to. And for customers I think it makes a difference, it feels more authentic.
Why did you want to be a part of Float?
Any organisation which is seeking to improve people's wellbeing is a winner in my books but I was particularly excited about Float because of their focus on making wellness accessible to everyone. The event will have a broad range of activities, presented by a diverse group of teachers and facilitators. The brand ethos opposes a lot of other wellness brands in that it is approachable, relaxed and not at all preachy or exclusive. That's why I'm so pleased to be involved :)
How do you think the wellness industry is evolving?
In one sense, I think it's over complicating something which should be an innate knowledge we all have - we must look after our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health
in order to live happy lives. And we have all the tools within us and in the natural world around us to do just this. Simple. And yet, the wellness industry is evolving to lead us to believe that we can only do this with certain apps, specialist products, and at least one 'wellness holiday' a year. That said, we do live in an increasingly complex (and stressful) world. So, yes, while it seems strange that we pay hundreds of pounds for gym membership to run on a treadmill when running outside is free, or we look to sources outside of ourselves for spiritual answers when, by definition, spirituality is highly personal - we do need as much help as we can get to find balance in a busy world. It's important for people to remember that wellness is, quite simply, looking after yourself - so let's pick and choose what products / services we really need instead of getting swept up in trends. And remember that a lot of what the industry offers can be done DIY style!
What do you think people will take away from attending Yolk?
I think everyone will learn something new - whether that's something about themselves or a new skill, I truly believe it will be a powerful learning experience for all, including the speakers, facilitators and organisers!
What comes to mind when you hear the word wellness?
The term wellness seems to have become synonymous with overpriced services which are accessible to the few rather than the many boutique gyms, fancy yoga studios, specialist massages, even £4 charcoal lattes...! While there is a place for all of these things - and I am partial to a coconut turmeric latte - wellness is supposed to be for everybody. We need to do more to promote the everyday aspects of self-care such as taking a few minutes a day to yourself, limiting the amount of time you spend on your phone, talking to friends and family, eating well etc. and wellness brands must do more to be inclusive.
What is the most interesting thing you have learnt through Crazy Ambition?
I've learned that by telling your story, you give others permission to do the same. And this is one of the aspects of Float that I believe will be so powerful - the festival is creating a space for people to be fully open and vulnerable (or not, and that's okay too) and this will foster a real sense of community, and connections that will go beyond the day itself.
Do you think brands, businesses and influencers have a role to play in promoting wellness?
Yes absolutely but it has to be authentic - if the person / brand truly embodies wellness then I think that has a knock on positive effect on consumers. For example, a business should be looking after it's employees, and working in sustainable a way as possible before planning large scale marketing campaigns or product launches with a wellness focus. When it's disingenuous, it can do more harm than good...and actually consumers are becoming more and more savvy, so they can tell.
In your opinion, what do you think can be done in the workplace to promote and improve overall wellbeing?
It has to come from the top. Senior management have to truly understand that a happy workforce has a positive impact on the bottom line - and not just that...looking after your people is the right thing to do. There's no point having a 'wellness programme' if the management style at the top breeds an environment of unnecessary pressure and disharmony. Free yoga won't make a bit of difference if people are being bullied or discriminated against every day. So senior management have to be invested in wellness, and also happy to talk about things like stress management and mental health openly with their staff.
What one thing makes you feel well and content?
Connecting with people. Everyone has a story to tell and it's even better when you find some common threads and can really connect on that.
What gets you motivated?
Making a difference, which makes me sound like such a hippy that wants to save the world (which I kind of do, don't we all?) but also, in a really selfish way, there's such a sense of achievement and pride that comes with being able to see change based on something that you've done - the fruits of your labour as it were. It's also been proven that being of service to others has a positive effect on our mental health, so I'm not alone!
What pearls of wellness wisdom can you share with us?
As we get more and more busy, stressed and tired, we become worse and worse at looking after ourselves. So I encourage everyone to put in place one self-care non-negotiable. Something that, no matter what else is going on in your life you always come back to. And it needs to be suitably scalable so that when times are tough, you can still manage it. For example, if cardio is your thing, make your non-negotiable that you'll do 5 minutes of cardio a day. That sounds like nothing, and when things are going well, you'll probably surpass it every day. But when things are not so rosy, you can roll out of bed, run around your room for a bit, do some star jumps, throw in a few burpees and then get on with your day. Making this commitment to yourself when things are good, means that it will be a habit which is less likely to go out the window when things are bad.
Grab your Float ticket here.