By Rev. Segun Akingbuwa
If you want to go somewhere, it is best you find someone who has already been there.
-Robert T. Kiyosaki
Alex is a promising young man growing up in the village in the eastern part of Nigeria. He had stopped formal education at the senior secondary school level, having lost his father to illness at an early age.
The shock was too much for his mother to bear; she passed on eighteen months after. He still nurses the desire to further his education, but first he must be able to fend for himself.
So when the offer to join his uncle in Lagos in his flourishing electronics business came, he quickly jumped at it. Alex did five years of dedicated service with his uncle during which he discovered he had a passion for the trade.
He had devoted himself to God and to his work and diligently learnt all the intricacies of the trade, becoming proficient in sourcing products, locating customers, negotiating deals and closing sales.
Alex also managed to upgrade himself educationally through some correspondence degree programs. It became obvious to all that Alex has grown into a skilled business man who could confidently stand on his own.
It was therefore with pleasure and great expectation that his uncle released him to start his own outfit while he keeps an eye on him for further guidance. To the joy of all, another promising businessman has just been added to the family.
I have seen this act played out over and over again in the lives of business people particularly those from the Eastern part of the country and this in a way is what mentoring is all about.
Everyone aspiring to make the best out of life requires a mentor.
A mentor is a trusted adviser of someone with little experience in a particular filed; he is one who has travelled farther in the field and is more informed and can pass on what he has learnt.
A mentor is a specialist in the area wherein you seek success; he is the one who instructs you and whose words you are willing to obey.
A mentor is someone you model after; he is one who helps you in your day to day decision-making and in developing your specific skills. A mentor is a coach; your mentor is your coach.
Everyone needs a mentor including mentors.
To have a mentor is to benefit from another’s experience; it is to save yourself from avoidable errors and mistakes, to learn faster and move quicker in your life’s pursuit and to position yourself to do more than the person before you.
To have a mentor is to avoid learning every life’s lesson by personal experience, to minimize setbacks and to make the very best use of your limited lifetime.
Age or gender has little to do with mentoring; your mentor can be older or younger than you and can be male or female.
Mentors are not impossible to find, they are always around, most people will gladly, give their time and wisdom to whosoever has demonstrated enough keenness to learn.
I remember while I was growing up in the area of financial intelligence, I was introduced to a business club whose offer looked very good. After signing in for the offer it occurred to me that the timing may not have been very right after all.
The deal ate deep into my financial asset base and prevented me for a while from doing further investments. It then occurred to me that a second opinion from a more experienced investor would have made a difference; this precisely is one of the roles of a financial mentor.
Take out time now and identify areas where you desire growth in your business pursuit and look out for a specialist in each one. Set a realistic standard and don’t expect a perfect mentor, they are humans too with their combinations of strength and weaknesses.
Recognise that mentors can be distant, so be willing to do it by phone, e-mail or through reading their books and biographies. Take your mentors advice but be willing to assume responsibility for your decisions.
Respect the fact that everyone is busy and a person may or may not be willing to accept the responsibility of mentoring you.
As much as possible, avoid being a nuisance or unnecessary burden on your mentor, see his offer of his time and resources as a privilege and conduct yourself with dignity.
Don’t make the relationship a one way affair, as often as opportunities arise, demonstrate your appreciation.
There are qualities to look for in a mentor. Mentors should demonstrate Godly character, must be objective, focusing on your strength as well as your weaknesses; they must be real, presenting a genuine and transparent outlook; they must be loyal to the relationship and be willing to keep confidentiality.
They must also be serving, ready to give their time and materials generously.
If hiring yourself successfully is your desire, you need a mentor. Prayerfully seek out one and you would have set yourself on a clear path to fulfillment in your business dreams.
God bless you richly.
Rev Akingbuwa is a senior pastor in the Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), a motivational speaker and financial intelligence coach