A group of young entrepreneurs invited me to speak at their business luncheon. I could recall that the session was very exciting and inspiring. For many of the young entrepreneurs, the discussion was an eye-opener as it provided them with another vehicle to make their dreams come true. Up till today, they have continued to share the gains of having committed mentors who contribute to the growth of their businesses and personal development. I believe the issue of mentoring is becoming relevant by the day, to both aspiring entrepreneurs and the growing ones.
I could recall one of the sayings that the person who is waiting to make it on his own is waiting for nothing but his career accident. A lot of us are struggling seriously to succeed but cannot find a clear roadmap to take us to the desired destination. There are many of us with hidden talents and potentials, but we lack what it takes to discover them and live a fulfilled life. There are times when we are surrounded by opportunities and chances to become successful doing what we enjoy doing, and yet we spend most of our productive life chasing shadows and helping others to succeed. Many of us are created to be served, but we slave ourselves to serve until grey days. No matter who you are, you need someone to discover your hidden potential, support and encourage you and make life more meaningful. Just like the saying goes, “A journey were directed is a journey well accomplished.” We need somebody to direct us to enable us to reach our goals quickly. Most times, we are unsatisfied with our conditions but the only thing that can change our life positively from where we are today to where we want to be in future is to have people who can direct our ways.
Some years ago, I found myself at a stagnation point of my life. I was faced with a lot of challenges that appeared insurmountable. As a young man, I did all I could to see dreams and visions come true, but I was all alone in the struggle. At times, I found most of my actions unproductive because my experience about life was limited to what I learnt in my undergraduate days. But thank God, I realised early enough that I needed a mentor, a man who will impact positively on my life, just like Elijah impacted on Elisha. I got my inspiration about mentoring from the Word of God in Proverbs 13:20 that “he that walketh with wise men shall be wise but companions of fools shall be destroyed.” As I applied these words to my life, things became easy. I took the initiative to ask two men who were successful in their chosen businesses to act as my mentors. It was one of them that supported me to discover my endowment which today has become a source of livelihood for me.
In the present days, when a lot of people find it difficult to discover the values and potential, the need for a mentor who is successful in his chosen business and career (someone who is physically, mentally and spiritually experienced to help us discover our value and create a pathway for us to succeed in life), is growing by the day. There is hardly any successful man in the world today that was not been mentored by one great man or the other. Mentoring is a tool that helps to uncover talents, potential and enhance skills and the chances of becoming successful in life. Every area of life requires one form of mentoring all the other. However, mentoring is becoming more relevant in the business world, especially to aspiring and growing entrepreneurs. This is because the learning process enhances the chances of an entrepreneur’s success in business and personal life. I remember reading about how Bill Clinton was mentored by the former President of the United States (George Bush Snr.) I also read about how some business moguls like Bill Gates of Microsoft, Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, Larry Ellison of Oracle, Robson Walton of Walmart, Philip Emegwali and other local successful businessmen like Jim Ovia, Otunba Subomi Balogun, Fola Adeola and many others, have been inspired by their mentors to achieve such tremendous success in the businesses. If indeed all these great men have been inspired and supported by their mentors, my question then is: who is your mentor? Would you want to do it all alone? As a businessman, I think you need someone to inspire you, guide you and to direct your path by sharing his practical business life experience with you.
What is Mentoring and Who is a Business Mentor?
There is no doubt that many of us understand the word mentoring, but I doubt if we know how the word came about. Mentoring is a relationship between a more experienced person call the mentor and the other individual called mentee or protege (usually less experienced) for mutual sharing of experience, skill and expertise. Often, it is the mentee their benefits most from this relationship.
The word “mentoring” dates back to Greek mythology. In Homer’s Odyssey, before King Odysseus sailed off to fight the Trojan war, he appointed his friend and trusted counsellor called, “Mentor” to watch over his son Telemachus. While the king was away, Mentor educated and protected Telemachus, piloting him pass ambush and through deadly hazards to see him safely through life. From that time on, the name, Mentor, started to be used to depict an adviser. The word mentoring has since become a buzzword in business. More and more people are recognising the need to have mentors to be successful in business today. A business mentor is a trusted person, a confidant and a successful person in his/her chosen field of business who supports growing entrepreneurs by sharing his/her business experience to help them discover their potential and guiding them to succeed in their own selected business. Mentoring also helps to reduce the incidence of failure in business.