Oluwaseun Ayansola (Sage of Oxford) is a first class graduate of Law. He was the second President of International Law Student Association (I.L.S.A.) of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-ife, Osun State Nigeria. He is also the founder of Commercially Aware. He has interned in various top firms in Nigeria and has participated in various competitions both locally and internationally. He is also a motivational speaker, budding life coach, blogger, freelancer, among other others.
Explain your view or idea on what mentoring is?
Mentoring is simply an art of recreating your success in others. If you aspire to achieve the most success at the youngest age, seek mentoring to easily avert avoidable mistakes of a more experienced person – a mentor. Mentoring relationship ought not to be parasitic, where one party takes and takes but never gives back anything as little as gratitude. Both parties should mutually benefit from the relationship. One party gives guidance, the other party asks really thought provoking questions.
Of what importance is mentoring to building one’s career?
Speed. If you want to reach your goals faster, get yourself a mentor. Eleanor Roosevelt captures it more aptly, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” Many mentors use their mentees to relive their past, wiser and better. The importance of mentoring cannot be overemphasized.
So, there is this thing that these mentors really don’t have time for people that want to be their mentee. Why is this so?
The kind of people we all want to be our mentors are extremely successful people. That can only suggest one thing – they are extremely busy people. So, the concern is a valid one.
What is the way forward?
My strategy is to never ask you to be my mentor. I slide into your dm and give you a progress report leave you a question. Once you show prospect, most mentors are willing to help. They see a seed that can become a life-size tree. Start something then seek mentorship.
What is your idea of going the extra miles to prove yourself?
The best kind of motivation is negative. Proving people wrong or telling yourself you can especially when nobody sees it coming. The dark horse philosophy – succeed because nobody expects you to. Usually, it will take more than just mere vision. It will take actual work and discipline. Seek information not readily known to many. Read more than everyone else. Work harder than everyone else. Network more than everyone else. Send more emails than everyone else. Your breakthrough is nearer than you think.
How can you be sure that your choice of mentor is right as per your career path?
Your choice of a mentor is clear once you have a clear idea of what you want to do. If you don’t, your only option is to talk to people you admire or a development coach. Go for the best “people” in that industry. I said people because it’s really about getting advice. Chastity is not really your goal. The more people you talk to the wiser. Usually, the right mentors give you a dejavu experience. When you double check with someone else, you’d find out they’d say the same thing as the former and the next. That’s the assurance you need that you’re in the right place.
Can you have other mentors not directly related to your career?
Yes. Sitting down with successful people irrespective of career path can make you wiser in one hour than you could ever be in your whole life. It is important to note also that there are different types of mentors. Career, spiritual and academic mentors and a life coach. A life coach helps you to achieve results. She’s your goal tracker; your development guru. Your spiritual mentor can be your pastor. Academic mentor can be your senior in school usually a year or two ahead not someone who graduated 10 years ago and has no real connection with the present realities (the latter would be better as a career mentor)
At what time do you stop being mentored?
Mentoring is for life. Just as change is constant. We make different twists and turns in life and hope for good fortunes. From child to father to grandfather to great grandfather; from student to employee to employer to pensioner; we all need to learn how to do the next thing. Rather than leave your next stage of development to chance, seek mentoring.
What do you think in the choice of a mentor?
Mentoring is a delicate business. It is worthy of mention that not all mentors are great leaders. In your choice of a mentor look out for not only their level of success but also their impact on lives. How many other stars have they made? How genuine is their concern for your progress? Also, don’t date your mentor so much that you lose originality. You’re not your mentor and you can never be. You are being mentored to learn from his or her mistakes to be the best version of yourself not to be the best version of your mentor.