Monday, August 20, 2007

Why Do You Strive For Excellence?

Just came back from a five day vacation to the East Coast. During the trip already tagged Operation Thunderbolt or for Yoruba translation, “Operation Magun” (a play on the widely acclaimed widescreen theatre Yoruba play I remembered watching in UNILAG theatre when it was released), I had the opportunity to visit Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland and Rhode Island. In between all these shuttling, I rode the plane for seven hours, the rail for fourteen hours, and probably used the road five hours- in the passengers sit of course. This period provided an opportunity for reflection; a period to relax, visit friends & relatives and just see new places and things.

But the eventuality of this Monday morning resumption got me thinking why we even work. Or put it another way, why do you strive for excellence? The answer to this question will vary depending on your station in life. Very early on in life, it could be to simply make your parent and family proud. Me think I don pass this stage by now, even though it is still a factor but it is hardly the most important reason. Other reasons may be that it is in our DNA. Certain people are surrounded by so much excellence either by blood or filial relationship that they feel a need to constantly have their A game on. It also might be for fulfillment and satisfaction. I for one know that I generally won’t feel satisfied until I have put in my best. Even when my better showing is someone else’s superlative; it won’t suffice until I have put up my best game. Even then, if it fails, I simply don’t care provided my inner voice tells me that I had put in my best. It won’t matter hence, going forward.

At other times, why you work so hard might also be for even less selfish reasons including but not limited to ensuring a better life for others. It might be your children, or even your grand children. Other times, you might be striving hard to make your country, region, state or locality proud. The most altruistic ones amongst us do it for the human race. I personally don’t see myself doing the last. Am simply not that global minded: okay now, Mr. Holier than thou. I currently work hard enough to put my family, relatives, future descendants, state, country, and race ahead- but doing one for the human race is way beyond my reach right now…or so I think. May be this is just mediocre thought after all. One more confession, I guess.
P.S: I completed my first pacesetter in more than ten years. Love on the Rocks written by Sesinyi, Andrew and set in Botswana. Good read. But an even greater reading was the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by C. Maxwell that I finally closed on in the rail while headed to Providence. Everyone should have a copy and live by these laws to stay ahead of the pack and do right by those you lead or intend to lead. Followership mentality abounds in the world today, but even more common is the bad leader mentality. I guess some people gotta follow forever right- just don’t want to be the one that’s all. I hope to finish this Obama book…I resumed on it on my way back to Houston. His treatise on race relations is exceedingly insightful.

Talking about widescreen, do you know the new Tinapa Resort contains a multi-million dollar film village with state of the art production studio fit for movie theatre productions? May be Nollywood need this shot in the arm. Watched a very funny Nigerian comedy in Providence at my Uncle's pad- Big Dreams, Biggest Dreams it was called...there is always something original about Nigerian comedy plays...may be the best genre. I can't stand the others. Even with this no name cast, this was just an excellent plot and an even more excellent acting.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Get Inspired

Keep your daytime job and start your own part – time business.
Have many mentors that guide you in different way.
Choose mentors that would help you with your goals.
To be a millionaire, you have to learn how to be an extraordinary person.
Stop trying to live to other people standards.
Take control of your life and create your own destiny.
The key is to overcome obstacles and keep moving.
You know where you will do well, put yourself there.
Be sure to learn from your mistakes
Risk taking is fine, don’t fear risk.
Surround yourself with greatness to achieve more.
Don’t place blame on others, be at your best.
Pinpoint your strengths and use them to achieve greatness.
If you focus on the positive, you would succeed.
Lastly, start small and if business grows leave a job.
“Remember; Life is tough, but never give up”

It is better to try & fail, than die regretting you wished you had tried!

Monday, August 06, 2007

I Need a Mentor

I am reading one of the best books I have read in a longtime, 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by J.C. Maxwell. I am still in the third chapter, yet I have learnt so much about myself- especially, what I am not. In the three short chapters I have learnt the law of the lid, which speaks basically to potential. The law of influence, which summarizes leadership in just that one obvious yet oblivious word. Ultimately, the third chapter is the law of process which forced me into thinking-whoosh! The law of process is that of learning how to be a levder. It is the law of "Rome was not Built in a Day". It is the law that leaders produce leaders, and that any aspiring leader must learn at the feet of an established leader.

This brings me to this blog entry. While reading the chapter on the law of process it became apparent that I need a mentor. I have had great mentors in the past: three to be precise. First was my father. I cannot be what I am today if not for the greatest source of my inspiration on what a man should be. Second was my first boss in Corporate world: coincidentally, he is my kinsman (and I did not know it until my last day at work here in Houston while working for an Oil major). My Boss, as I choose to still call him (Oga), was hard on me. He straightened me out, crushed my wet in the ear ego & prepared me for the challenges ahead. The third mentor I have does not even know it. He is a much older friend. His insightful thoughts/words on life & family came in handy when I needed it most. He is a friend indeed.

One thing however unifies all my mentors today. They are miles away , do not engage in my line of endeavor & critical mentorship can hardly take place. To some, I might have outgrown their mentorship, to me I have simply been bettered by them enough to start seeking new hands to continue where they have stopped. The author, John C. Maxwell spoke about seeking out your mentors. I am determined to do so in 6 months.

So now you know- mentors wanted. Qualification: God fearing, visionary with outstanding qualities to lead & mould a would be leader & preferably within reach. By experience, what makes great mentors is fearlessness in the face of failure: even while being observed. I have watched my great mentors fail. Mentors are not selfish, they share, they are influential and rub off nicely on their mentees. Mentors see the big picture, they accept their unusual position with exceptional humility & dignity. Oh men, I need a mentor. Only when I am mentored, can I truly be a mentor to someone else. Tell them- I need one fast!

Updated: I just spoke to one of my mentors mentioned above, who agreed to introduce me to a suitable new mentor. Great mentors seek out greater ones. Lesson learned.


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