Dangote is a relatively new comer on the Nigerian manufacturing scene. Chimamanda Adichie began her writing long after people like Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka. When NTA was flexing muscles all over Nigeria and Africa, DSTV was not yet born. I could go on and on but I won’t. Instead I will ask, what makes businesses succeed? Why do some people do so well and others fail at the same tasks? Is there a blueprint for success? And if there is, is it possible for ordinary people to find it?
I don’t claim to have the answer to these questions but recently I heard somebody talk about the things that contribute to success and one of them really resonated with me. This person talked about the importance of having a mentor.
Wikipedia defines mentorship as:
Mentorship is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The mentor may be older or younger than the person being mentored, but she or he must have a certain area of expertise.
In other words, a mentor is somebody who is doing something you are doing or intending to do in a way that you admire, and who is able to provide for you a road map to where you desire to be in that particular venture. Mentorship is a very big deal in determining how well or how far a person succeeds. Most successful people have mentors; they have people who have succeeded in their fields that they are following in their footsteps. Even in the Bible people had mentors. Moses had Jethro his father-in-law, Joshua had Moses, Samuel had Eli, Ruth had Naomi, Elisha had Elijah; Mary the Mother of Jesus had Elizabeth her older cousin. Okay, okay, I’m sure you get the point. Everybody needs a mentor.
If you really want to succeed in your endeavour, then identify a person who has succeeded in that area and seek their mentorship. About twenty years ago, a young man I knew wanted to be wise in life and he wanted to accumulate wealth in a good way. He searched and searched and came across a man called Mike Murdoch and decided to make him his mentor. At that time his monthly salary was less than five thousand naira. He had nothing of value; in fact he had just finished his OND. Of course he had no way of physically reaching Mike Murdoch, so he got all the books written by Mike Murdoch that he could find and he started reading them. He would buy, beg or borrow Mike Murdoch books and study them as if his life depended on it. That was his own way of being mentored by Mike Murdoch.
Many years later, this young man became a high-flying pilot and one day he had the opportunity of flying his mentor. You can imagine the joy! But the story is not about that meeting in the aircraft; today that young man behaves like Mike Murdoch in a lot of ways. He applies the success principles of Mike Murdoch to his life effortlessly
What am I saying? If you identify something you like about a successful person, you may not necessarily need to have a physical relationship with the person. Today social media has made it easy to follow anybody. Read up on the people who have succeeded in your area of calling, follow them on social media. Buy and read their books if they have written books. Study their lifestyle and copy what is good.
Who should mentor you?
Anybody can be a mentor, so long as you believe they are succeeding or have succeeded in an area where you also want to succeed. And when you take someone as your mentor you must be willing to submit to their leadership because they know something you need to learn.
Sometime ago, I reached out to a school mate and asked the person to mentor me in a certain area because I was struggling in that area and this person gracefully accepted; I can honestly say that is one of the smartest decisions I have taken in the past one year! And there is no assignment this person would give me that I would not happily carry out. I have virtual mentors too. People whose lifestyle I study so I can improve on certain things in my life.
Don’t be an ‘oversabi.’ Nobody knows it all. This is one of the secrets of the very successful. A mentoring relationship does not only apply to business or career but in every area. And like has been said already, it does not have to be someone you know. So in what area would you like to succeed more? Get a mentor in that area..