by Samuel Osho | Aug 12, 2018 | Personal Development, Productivity
5 Powerful Mentoring Relationships that Influenced the World
It looks like everyone on your timeline has it all figured out except you. In fact, you are a superstar when you can tell a story of how you made it from grass to grace, all by yourself. I am seeking the attention of a generation that continually denigrates the importance of mentoring.
You think that your story will lose its flavor when you add stances of when you were helpless, and a mentor’s wealth of experience brought you back on track. You are telling a big lie when you create an impression that you are an island of knowledge.
If you are on a journey to a location for the very first time, to reduce your chances of getting lost, you can ask for directions from a guide. Or better still, use Google Map and follow the instructions until you get to your destination.
Of course, you are smarter than folks that think they can reach their destination through guesses and permutations. You are smart because you conserve energy and you save time. This ultimately reflects in your speed and refreshing look when you get to your destination. No beating around the bush, you went straight to the point.
Life is a journey and if you know where you are going, finding the right mentor can be the gamechanger. Mentoring is a highly rewarding experience but before you start looking for a mentor, make sure you provide answers to these eight questions
To drive home the importance of mentoring, I have decided to share stories of five powerful mentoring relationships that influenced the world.
5 Mentoring Relationships
1. Socrates mentored Plato
You don’t need to attend a philosophy class before you know these names – Socrates and Plato. Both are pillars in Greek philosophy and the bedrock of what makes modern philosophers stay awake at night.
Interestingly, despite the popularity of Socrates today, there is no record of his writings before his death which is strange for a philosopher of his class. Socrates is credited as the founder of Western philosophy and contributed immensely to ethics as the first moral philosopher.
All that you learnt in school about Socrates were chiefly the works of his followers and students. This is where Plato comes in, he is often regarded as the “best disciple of Socrates.” Some of the best and detailed accounts of Socrates’ work stemmed from the writings of Plato.
If Socrates covered the first thousand miles of Greek philosophy, Plato perhaps paced through the next five thousand miles. Plato did more than contributing to Western philosophy, he laid the foundations for Western science and mathematics.
2. Plato mentored Aristotle
It’s interesting to see a trend in Classical Greece that preserved the excellent knowledge of great philosophers. At the age of 17 or 18, Aristotle enrolled in Plato’s Academy in Athens and remained Plato’s student until he turned 37.
He is known as the “Father of Western Philosophy.” The teachings of Aristotle served as the first comprehensive system of Western philosophy. The principle of kinematics developed by Galileo Galilei and William Harvey’s explanation of blood circulation in the human body were both reactions to the writings of Aristotle.
To prove that the torch of knowledge passed down the line burned with much intensity, Aristotle’s writings moved beyond the tents of philosophy to poetry, science, linguistics, politics, government, and economics. Although he did not establish an academy like Plato, he started a library in Lyceum after Plato’s death.
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton
3. Aristotle mentored Alexander the Great
Shortly after Plato’s death, Aristotle left Athens and moved to the palace of King Philip II of Macedon. Aristotle had a paid job in the palace as a tutor for King Philip’s son, Alexander the Great. Alexander was under the tutelage of Aristotle during his youth until age 16. After King Philip’s assassination, Alexander the Great became the King of Macedonia at the age of 20.
Though he died at the age of 32, Alexander the Great is widely regarded as one of the greatest military commanders in history. He never lost a battle. He created one of the largest empires in the ancient world at a young age of 30. His kingdom extended from Greece to northwestern India.
4. George Wythe mentored Thomas Jefferson
If you know a bit of American history, these names will sound familiar because they played vital roles in America’s Independence. George Wythe was a renowned classics scholar and America’s first law professor.
He was a notable law professor at the College of William & Mary and served as a teacher to a sizeable number of prominent American leaders. Amidst his mentees, he was exceptionally close to Thomas Jefferson.
Jefferson showcased the brilliance of one that was well-taught by a sage – he was both an exceptional leader and a superb writer.
When it was time for America to craft its Declaration of Independence, the leader of the Continental Congress, John Adams, persuaded the committee to select Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. When you read the Declaration of Independence, you are reading the writings of Jefferson.
Jefferson, alongside his mentor, George Wythe were two out of the seven Virginia signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence. He authored the Declaration in July 1776 and later served two terms as America’s third President from 1801 to 1809 after serving as the nation’s first Secretary of State under President George Washington.
5. Benjamin Graham mentored Warren Buffett
Finally, one of my examples has one of its legends living with us. Warren Buffet, while he was in his early twenties, met a man who changed his perspective on investment and perhaps changed the course of his life forever.
Benjamin Graham was a British-born American economist, investor, and professor. He etched his name in history as the “father of value investing,” and authored two stellar books that have served as a collage of timeless investment principles.
Perhaps, one of his greatest investments was mentoring the young and energetic Warren Buffet who has grown to become the wizard of value investing in the world. Buffet worked in Graham’s company for two years before Graham’s retirement into full-time academic roles.
Buffet learnt the trade from his master, and he is undoubtedly one of the most successful investors in the world with a net worth close to US$84 billion.
It’s clear from these examples that mentoring has stood the test of time as one of the strategies used by champions to reach their destination in destiny. English physicist, Isaac Newton, once said: “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” The further you can see into your future, the more you become confident in its possibility.
What are you waiting for? Embrace mentoring and find the right mentors in your field of interest. Do you know of any other mentoring relationship that has influenced the world? Please feel free to share in the comment section below.
by Samuel Osho | Nov 6, 2017 | Personal Development
8 Things To Consider Before Choosing a Mentor
Are you running on a full throttle towards your life goals but still feels like your view of the future is bleak? Seems like you are groping for light in a thick mist. Within you, lies a longing for a guide, a desire for a shoulder to lean on and a craving for a heart that cares deeply about your success. Maybe, it’s time for you to consider searching for a mentor.
As a student, a fledgling entrepreneur, a budding writer, a young leader, an artist or even an athlete, you don’t have to bear all the burden of success all by yourself. If you are humble enough to ask for help you will be amazed at the number of successful people willing to genuinely help you.
Previously, I shared about how you can be the best version of yourself
and made mention of mentoring as one of the ways to make yourself highly valuable in your field. In my narrative of describing mentoring as a worthy enclave of knowledge and wisdom, I talked about some classic examples of mentoring that occupy beautiful pages in the books of history. From Aristotle’s powerful influence on the victorious reign of Alexander The Great to how Steve Jobs (former CEO of Apple Inc.) guided Marc Benioff (CEO of Salesforce) on the paths of excellence.
Perhaps, you have made up your mind to find a mentor but there are some questions you need to answer before taking the plunge.
1. What are my life goals?
Knowing your life goals is a must if you want to be successful in life. The goals serve as guides and milestones on the path to fulfillment. Inasmuch as mentoring will help you move faster towards your goals, you need to be clear about your goals and have them very close to your heart. The importance of having specific goals in life cannot be overemphasized because it gives you a sense of direction and boosts your self-confidence.
For strikers to score goals on a soccer field, they must be well acquainted with the goalposts. The same is true for anyone concerned about success – be familiar with your life goals. Before putting a call through to your potential mentor, make sure you find a valid answer to this question. You can visit Personality Lab to seek for help.
2. What do I want from a mentor?
It is very difficult for anyone to help you if you don’t know what you want. What exactly do you want from a mentor? You have to be super clear on this because it will guide the mentor in providing what you need. You have to think deeply about this before approaching anyone for mentoring or professional advice.
For instance, I want you to be my mentor in photography. To be more specific, I want to learn how about the depth of focus, lighting, and effects. That’s spot on!
You just need to hit the nail right on the head because some of your potential mentors are very busy people. Go straight to the point and know what you want to gain from the relationship.
3. In which area of my life do I need a mentor?
Mentors are usually experts with a track record of success in their fields. Your life is a huge project and you may need more than one mentor. You have to know which area of your life requires a mentor. Do you need an academic mentor? Do you desire a mentor for your small scale business? Is your emotional and spiritual life in dire need of a mentor?
It is an arduous task to demand mentoring for all areas of your life from a single person. No one knows it all but we are all gifted in certain areas of life. Focus maximizes the power of mentoring. Seek for an expert in an area you need help and ask for mentoring.
4. What is my definition of success?
The definition of success is subjective and defers based on personal tastes and perceptions. To someone, success may mean to make more money while to another it could mean garnering more positive influence. You must have a clear interpretation of what success means to you before reaching out to a potential mentor.
Do you both have the same illustration of success? This is highly imperative because mentoring becomes incredibly productive when there is a unity of interests between the mentee and the mentor. If the perception of success by both parties is the same, it enhances cohesion and forms a formidable team.
5. What is the profile of my ideal mentor?
In any endeavor, clarity inspires speed and a sense of direction. You must create the personality profile of your ideal mentor(s). What is their occupation? What is the level of success they have achieved? What are they passionate about? What keeps them awake at night? What are their life goals? Which kind of books do they read? Who are their role models? What inspires them? Having an imaginative portrait of your ideal mentor guides your search and shows you where you can find them.
“Study anyone who is great, and you will find that they apprenticed to a master or several masters. Therefore, if you want to achieve greatness, renown, and superlative success, you must apprentice to a master.” – Robert Allen
6. Have I done my homework?
It’s appalling to misconstrue mentoring for spoon feeding. According to the English novelist, Edward Forster, “Spoon feeding, in the long run, teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.” Mentoring works for people who take responsibilities for their personal lives. A mentor is a guide who offers information that is absent on the Internet.
For instance, you want a mentor for your public speaking life. Have you done adequate research about public speaking? What are the personal steps you have taken in improving yourself? You have to meet your mentor midway by doing your homework. A mentor walks in when you have exhausted your channels of knowledge and learning. Doing your homework makes you attractive and presents you as hardworking, diligent and assiduous. Mentors love to work with people of this ilk.
Mentoring is a two-way street. It’s clear that you need the help of a mentor but what can you do to be of help. Let it be a symbiotic relationship; add significant value to the lives of your mentors. Think of one service you can render to them in return for their generosity of knowledge. This is not compulsory but it’s a necessary lubricant that will foster a fruitful relationship between both parties. Don’t be a liability to your mentor but be an asset.
8. Is this the right time?
While it is important to reach out to mentors you also need to be sure if you are ready for it. Is this the right time to seek for a mentor? In making critical decisions, timing is of great essence. As rightly put by American Leadership Expert, John C. Maxwell, “The timing of your decision is just as important as the decision you make.”
Is this the time to seek for mentoring in managing your organization? The key factor that usually influences timing is the magnitude of your personal research and the amount of energy you have invested in the cause for which you require mentoring. Before calling for the help of others, have you done your homework?
Now that you have answered these questions. You may go ahead and seek the consent of your potential mentor. I have attached a sample letter of request that you can send to initiate the mentoring process.
This is a sample script demanding for President Barack Obama’s hand in mentorship. Feel free to use this script when reaching out to your potential mentor.
Hello President Obama,
I am Samuel Osho. We are yet to meet. And I know you have a busy and tight schedule, so I will be brief. I lead an international not-for-profit organization based in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria. The organization seeks to build powerful leaders and effective communicators from young minds. Over the years, your life has been a huge source of inspiration to me and millions across the world. Your riveting speeches are soothing springs of comfort and your exemplary leadership while you served as the President of the United States for eight years is wowing.
From your book, “Dreams From My Father,” I noticed that you faced some challenges when you were first starting out. Well, here I am in those early stages and trying so hard to figure things out. President Obama, I would really appreciate it if you would consider being my mentor. All that would mean is spending ten minutes on the phone with me once in a month, so I could ask you a few questions. I would really appreciate it. Would you be open to that?
It’s your turn to share your thoughts. Which of these eight questions do you regard as the most important? Which other questions do you think one must answer before choosing a mentor?
by Samuel Osho | Oct 22, 2017 | Personal Development, Productivity
How To Be The Best Version of Yourself Without Burning Out
The reason why you will empty your pockets to acquire a milligram of diamond and trample on a tonne of molded clay is because your instincts are configured to appreciate value. The stark reason why you place printed papers called currencies in vaults and dump another random paper in the sitting room for everyone to see is value.
You are your most valuable asset. Your life, your mind, your brain, your body, and your skills are the most valuable things you have. In this fast-paced world, your ability to grow, to learn, to become better is unlimited. Simply put, you can be the best version of yourself if you are willing to make the investments. In fact, it is a rule of thumb in personal development as clearly stated by American bestselling author Brian Tracy that anyone interested in a lifelong success should endeavor to invest at least 3 percent of their incomes into their lives for deliberate learning.
Every human is like a script or a slate. What people get to celebrate is the value you add to that script. It is not how old or archaic the script is, it is a matter of how valuable it is. Hence, it is a struggle to move up the ladder of success when you fail to constantly add values to yourself. When you experience promotion in your place of work, it is simply an appreciation for the worth of the value embedded in you.
Anyone who embarks on the journey of life racing like a deer without restraints but forgets to constantly increase his value is aiming for a catastrophe; it is a race to embrace disgrace. It will lead to a burnout.
Therefore, it is highly imperative to explore ways by which you can add more value to your life without experiencing a burnout. I will share three habits of highly valuable people that have been proven to yield bountiful results over the years.
One of the smartest ways of standing out of the crowd in your chosen field is to read good books. Reading good books is probably one of the cheapest ways to garner knowledge. Some of the world’s highly successful people have one common habit – reading. The world’s richest man, Bill Gates, reads an average of 50 books every year
. Another shining star in the billionaire’s club, Warren Buffet is a chronic reader, he once confessed that in the early days of his career, he spends 80% of his day reading. That’s huge! The list of lifelong bookworms is endless – Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Charlie Munger but they seem to be some of the world’s smartest investors and inventors.
One of my mentors once shared with me that the first thing he consults when faced with a challenge is a good book that offers a proven solution. Good books provide answers to your questions; they offer comfort amid chaos. When you have answers to the questions of your colleagues and clients, you become “the chief consultant.” As a result, you ultimately become outstanding in performance and effectiveness. That’s the way to be the best.
Conclusively, the smartest people read good books. Smart people look for shortcuts and reading is a way of condensing timeframes. They don’t just have a pile of books on their shelf but they read and practice the new things they learnt. Knowing more increases your earning power and sets you up to be the best.
Action Point: Surf the net and look for books that can broaden your horizon in your chosen field. Buy them, get a comfy place, get a marker and start reading.
Education is no longer locked in classrooms or serving a prison term behind university gates. Technology is constantly removing all the obstacles that hinder access to quality education. The Internet is a treasure trove of resources that can enhance your competencies in any chosen field. Education just got cheaper with the availability of different online learning platforms. If you can’t afford college and university tuition fees, you really don’t need to break the bank to gain mastery of some certain skills. The Internet can be your teacher even if all you have is YouTube.
However, asides from YouTube, the emergence of massive open online courses (MOOCs) is a gamechanger that has the capacity to positively impact the learning experience of Internet users. The popular MOOCs include the following: Udacity
, Shaw Academy
, Class Central
and much more. These sites serve as homes to a host of courses ranging from data analysis to human resource management to programming to photography to fitness. Using a keyword search, you can find one or two courses that will add more value to your life and career. Majority of these courses are self-paced which means you can take the classes at your convenient times.
Action Point: Visit at least three out of the digital learning websites mentioned above and register for a course that really resonates with your passion.
“I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines.” – Charlie Munger
English Mathematician, Isaac Newton, has this to say about mentoring: “If I have seen farther than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” In a world where everyone claims to be self-made, mentoring is gradually fading away and it is one of the profound ways to forge ahead quickly in life. Your mentors can be your role models but not all your role models are your mentors because mentoring requires an active relationship between both parties. Mentoring creates a channel for the smooth exchange of ideas and insights between a mentor (usually an expert) and a mentee (a young professional).
In addition, it is possible for you to have more than one mentor, you can have mentors for different areas of your life. You can have a leadership mentor that helps in building your leadership skills. A tactical mentor can assist in improving your entrepreneurial skills so you can make better decisions as a business owner. A spiritual mentor can be of great help in ensuring you have a sound spiritual and emotional health. There are some classic examples of mentoring or “apprentice pairing” that we often overlook and they are as follows:
- Socrates mentored Plato.
- Aristotle mentored Alexander The Great.
- Thomas Edison mentored Henry Ford.
- George Wythe mentored Thomas Jefferson.
- Benjamin Graham mentored Warren Buffet.
- Steve Jobs mentored Marc Benioff.
- Larry Page mentored Marissa Myers.
Unfortunately, mentoring is becoming unpopular because people think they can handle all the pressures alone. They are too proud and think they don’t need the help of anyone. Some even think it is a sheer waste of time and efforts. Some just loathe the idea of staying accountable to someone else. You can learn many things that are absent on the Internet from an experienced mentor. Mentoring is a support system when it seems like everything is going haywire. Don’t carry the burden alone but seek help by finding a suitable mentor.
However, to maximize mentoring, you must be willing to step out of your shell, be proactive and ready to invest in a healthy and active relationship. Do your personal homework before asking questions. Ask questions only when you are genuinely not clear on what step to take.
Action Point: Get a mentor in your chosen field today. If you find it difficult to locate one, use online services such as MicroMentor, Allen Mentoring, Envelop, Mogul, and iMentor. Connect with a mentor today and add more value to yourself.
Roll up your sleeves, lace your boots and take a deep breath as you add values to yourself – a value added is a step closer to success. Read good books, enrol for online courses and find inspiring mentors.
Let me know your thoughts, which of the three action points do you want to implement right away? How has any of the three action points helped you in the past?