“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Last Saturday, I was invited to speak at the Workplace and Enterprise Readiness (WEREADY) Programme 2014, a programme designed to equip final year students, corps members, job seekers, job changers and career changers with the requisite knowedge, skills and attitude needed for success.
It was a privilege sharing a platform with Aruosa Osemwegie (The Convener and renowned HR Consultant), Lolu Mogaji (Image Consultant) and Kunle Olaifa (Head, Human Resources, Samsung West Africa). I share their pictures above.
I spoke on the topic, “Leveraging Smart Technology to Optimize Learning and Global Competitiveness in The Knowledge Economy.” I shared with the participants on the knowledge economy, how the world of work has changed and how to prepare for the new normals that determine their future career success. I shared strategies on how to prepare for global competitiveness using everyday tools around them especially their smart phones, how to build their brands on social media and techniques for accelerated learning and peak productivity.
The interesting thing about why I’m sharing this is because exactly two years ago, WeReady 2012, I was a participant listening to some of my mentors I’m now sharing a platform with. A year ago, I was a project coordinator for WeReady 2013. Today, I’m a speaker at WeReady 2014. I will share with you how it happened and some lessons you can learn from my experience.
3 years ago when I finished from the University of Ibadan, I had no clear cut idea what I wanted to do with my life. I just had a basic desire to succeed. Like they say, when a student is ready, a teacher will appear. A great guy, Emeka Ossai, The Project Director of Nigeria Enterprise Challenge recommended WeReady to me and mentioned that it will cost me N5,000 to attend.
Honestly, I didn’t have that cash when I got the information but I was determined to attend. Like they say, when there is a will, there is a way. Guess what? I borrowed money to attend the programme in Lagos despite living in Ibadan at that time.
I will share with you the lessons that took me from that point of borrowing money to attend a programme to where I’m now a speaker today.
1. Your determination to succeed is more important than Your current circumstances
I could have dismissed the possibilities of attending that event if I looked at my pocket. I could simply have ignored it. But I chose differently. I attended. The programme was a major turning point in my life. It was where my desire to be a speaker, writer and consultant attained a fiery nature. My hunger to make something of myself was stirred. I soaked up what the facilitators shared and I can distill it into two lessons – Create Your CV everywhere and Live a life of constant preparation.
Can I ask you? What excuses are you currently permitting to rationalize your circumstances? Like one of my client’s email signature reads, “Excuses are excuses. Reasons are reasons. Results are all that matters.” Nobody ever changed the world or made a difference by the quality of their excuse.
2. Create your CV everywhere
A very great lesson I learnt was to make my presence felt anywhere I was. Because I had this mindset, I attracted the opportunities to develop myself and make a difference. I was the first to embrace responsibility anywhere I found myself and where I tried to shirk responsibility, it hunted me with unforgiving fervour.
I was posted to Kebbi State for my service year and I maximized my stay. I was bigger than my circumstances because of my attitude and mindset.
By the end of my service year, I had served as a State Publicity Secretary for Nigerian Christian Corpers Fellowship. I served as a Vice President and then President of my CDS group, HIV/AIDS PETs. I was a motivational speaker on Personal Effectiveness at the Batch C orientation camp while yet a corps member.
I spoke to the students of Waziri Umaru Federal Polytechnic, Kebbi State with my great buddy, Jesse Onomiwo on “E-learning: Student’s tool for global competitiveness.” I also spoke at Port Harcourt 2013 Batch A orientation camp on Employability and Enterprise development skills just shortly after my service year. I also organized numerous seminars and spoke at various CDS groups.
I was eager to make a difference and share my knowledge to build people.
3. Live a life of constant preparation
One of the most disappointing issues in life is to be unprepared for your opportunities. Success is always a meeting of preparation and opportunity. I’m always preparing myself. I have remained hungry for more since 2008. Till today, I constantly read good books, attend seminars, listen to audio messages, connect with like-minded people and share my knowledge. I always believed that my background cannot put my back on the ground, so I hustle while I wait. I was willing to work without regular pay for some time just to position myself to achieve my career goals.
Can I ask you? What are you willing to sacrifice to make your dreams happen? Except your dreams are bigger than your excuses, you won’t find the motivation necessary to make things happen. I suggest you resolve today, under God to stop complaining and take responsibility for your life and to change your circumstances.
4. Believe in yourself
People never rise beyond their expectation of themselves. I would never attempt some of the things I do if I never nourished in the recesses of my mind, the possibilities within me. I’m powerful not because I’m intelligent but because I believe in myself. I never quit in spite of my struggles and failures. I always resolve to get up. I don’t indulge in self pity.
I read inspirational materials to sustain my motivation. And where life hits me hard, I rely on God’s unfailing word. Like the psalmist said, “Unless your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction.” When you are going through tough times, always lean on God. Your going-through doesn’t determine your going-to. Refuse to surrender to your circumstances. All things are possible to him who believes.
5. Don’t trivialize what you have and who you are
I almost felt like crying when one of the participants told me my presentation answered her questions on how to achieve some important goals she had set for the year. I was dumbfounded. All my toil of learning began to make sense. My efforts were not in vain. Someone somewhere has been thirsty for the knowledge I possess. I was someone’s answered prayer.
The point is you never know who needs what you have. Don’t trivialize it. Polish what you have. Package it. Refine it. Brand it. Give it commercial value. All my little knowledge couldn’t help anybody until I packaged it into a PowerPoint presentation and blog articles. Now I get comments from people who feel inspired by my writings.
6. Set goals
“Success is goals, all else is commentary”, said Brian Tracy. We have a goal seeking mechanism called the brain. When you give it a goal, and I mean a goal, a clear, written statement of what you want to achieve that has a deadline – it feels energized and goes to work.
Three of my goals this year were to improve my brand on social media, write a book and build my speaking platforms. Instead of waiting to write a book, I started writing articles. I started preparing for my speaking platforms by reading and writing around areas I want people to acknowledge my expertise – personal development.
I have written more than 25 articles this year of about 500 – 2000 words and I’m currently working on my first book. I had to start with the baby steps of writing articles of about 350 words, then I increased. Now I don’t find a 1500 words article any challenge. I have learnt and I’m still learning the tricks of writing. I’m seeking daily to improve my art.
See, when you set goals, you activate the law of attraction or the law of psycho-cybernetics that attracts the people, ideas, books and resources in agreement with your dominant thoughts.
7. Have a mindset of contribution
One of the most powerful motivations I have found is to tie the achievement of your goals to what it can do for others. I have made a resolve to be one of the best minds in my generation and to use my knowledge to transform myself, light a path for others to follow and help them achieve their dreams. It is impact that keeps me going.
Your life is bigger than you. Don’t live for self. One of my key metrics of a successful life is what you are making happen for others. I want people to remember me for the problems I solve not the ones I create. I’m not perfect. I’m nowhere near it but this I do – I forget what is behind me (the past) and daily press to live a better life, to be all I can be. I strive daily to grow, to love, to live and to learn.
8. Watch your association
I always remember Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones’ words, “You are the same today as you will be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.” If you want to be successful, check your closest association. Are they friends who celebrate and promote your essence and goals? Do they bring out the best in you? How do you feel after a conversation with them?
For me, meeting Aruosa Osemwegie was one of the defining moments in my life. While I worked with him, he made me hate mediocrity. I advise young people should read his book, Nothing Succeeds Like Excess. You will despise mediocrity after reading it. He was the one who believed in me enough to mentor me and opened up his platform to me.
One of the peer associations that have impacted my life is my partnership with Jesse Onomiwo, one of the most ambitious and intelligent young men I know. My relationship with him inspires me to be better. We both share similar interests and somewhat look alike, being very dark. I have learnt a lot from him and continue to learn. He is a great fan of my brand and I of his. I picked up my interest in technology from him. I also have a couple of great friends that space won’t allow me mention. If they are reading this, they know who they are. I appreciate you all.
9. Maintain a positive discontentment. Don’t settle. Your best is yet to come.
If you understand as H.G Wells did that the only true measure of success is the ratio between what we might have been and what we have become, you will not become easily complacent. The greatest enemy of success is Mr. Good and Mrs. Better. Only the best will satisfy a noble soul.
The definition of success i subscribe to helps me maintain perspective. Though we all need some healthy sense of pride in ourselves, I’m not always impressed with myself. I can be occasionally tempted to but I don’t dwell on it. I believe with John Maxwell that, “Success is knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others.” Trust me, you and I have a lifetime to grow towards our potential. We can’t afford to be impressed by our current accomplishments or rest on our laurels. NO! Not yet!
I have many bestselling books I haven’t written yet, international audiences I haven’t spoken to, business executives I haven’t coached, businesses I haven’t turned around, a wife and children I’m yet to meet and nurture, a nation to impact. I can’t settle. My best is yet to come and neither should you.
10. Be willing to pay the price
Dreams are just dreams if you don’t wake up and work to make them real. Henry David Thoreau is right in this, “If you have built your castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
I don’t subscribe to this dream big nonsense if you are not willing to do big work. “You can’t have a million dollar dream with a minimum wage work ethic” said Farrah Gray. Success is tons of self discipline. You will do well to understand Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained in a single flight but, they while their companions slept, and they were toiling upwards in the night.”
You want to be Barack Obama? Are you willing to pay the price in study, integrity and discipline that he paid. You admire Nelson Mandela right? Would you mind to spend just 10 years in Robbin Island to stand up for what is right. Do you have the fiery guts that made him say, “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” You admire E.A Adeboye, Will you humble yourself and seek God like he does?
H. L Hunt, the great oil Billionaire had this to say, “Success require two things, and two things only. First, you must know exactly what it is you want. Second, you must determine the price that you will have to pay to achieve it, and then get busy paying that price.”
If you have read thus far, it shows you are interested in a better life and in achieving your dreams. This is the starting point of success – desire.
I leave you with a quote by Anthony Robbins, “It is not what we do once in a while that counts but our consistent actions. What ultimately determines who we become and where we go in life? The answer is our decisions. It’s in these moments that our destiny is shaped. More than anything else, I believe our decisions – not the condition of our lives – determine our destiny.”
To your success