Lesson In Mentorship: Leveraging The Resources of Your Mentor

I was in Kigali, Rwanda for my annual vacation that year. I posted a few pictures on social media and then I got a call from the PA to my mentor. She asked what I was doing in Kigali.
Coincidentally, my mentor was in Kigali at the same time and I didn’t know. She gave me his Kigali number and I called him. It turned out he was there for a series of meetings where the President, Paul Kagame was to be in attendance at one of them.
He invited me for the meetings and gave me a pass. I missed the morning session where the President was present but I attended the lunch session. We were the only two Nigerians at the meeting.
During the lunch session, he introduced me to so many people including a Member of Parliament of another African country who gave me her contact details and asked me to visit her country.
He taught me a lesson during that event. The first question he asked when he learnt I was in Kigali was if I brought any native attire. I didn’t. I was there on vacation and just brought a few shirts and trousers.
He told me that I should always take along a native attire to anywhere I travel to. His lesson became real to me during the lunch meeting when he turned out in resplendent traditional wears and he was the cynosure of all eyes. Everyone wanted to take a picture with him.
I stood there in my shirt and trouser and a Niger Delta-looking hat that I hurriedly purchased on my way to the hotel venue. Since then, I always take along a traditional attire in my bag no matter where I go.
He called me one early morning about 4 years ago. When I picked the call, he asked about my availability to attend the Presidential Breakfast meeting in the United States. It was the first National Prayer Breakfast meeting to be attended by Donald Trump when he assumed office.
He wanted to include my name as one of the delegates from Nigeria. I was elated but hold on a minute- I told him I didn’t have a US visa at that time. He was disappointed and I missed that opportunity. Maybe I would have met Donald Trump during that meeting.
I applied and got my visa a few months after.
On another occasion, he invited me for a meeting at Muson Centre where he ensured I was one of the key participants at the meeting which included so many prominent personalities.
My name was printed on the programme of events and I felt really humbled mingling with some of the people whose names I’ve only read before in newspapers and seen on TV. I was in so much shock that I could hardly eat breakfast when it was served.
You can leverage the resources of your mentor to build your personal value. You can have access to the vast network of your mentors. However, this will only arise based on two things:
1.Trust

You must nurture that relationship and build an atmosphere of trust. Trust does not develop overnight. Trust is built through a process. If you’re given a small task, do it well. Your mentor is observing. Let your heart be in the right place.
Ensure you espouse the right values. Show yourself dependable and loyal. Trust is earned- it is not given.
Mentors may show themselves vulnerable to you. Skip the bad part and focus on the good side. Your mentor is not perfect. All mentors are flawed. Elijah was suicidal and dealt with depression. He was also a very tough-talking fella. He was highly temperamental also.
Yet, Elisha focused and earned that trust until he was described as the one who poured water on the hands of Elijah. When you get to the level where you pour water on the hands of your mentor, you have earned that trust.
2.It’s a long-term relationship

Mentorship that will add real value is not short term. Most people are looking for microwave mentors. It won’t happen that way. The best things in life unfold gradually. You need to be patient and give it time.
The longer the relationship is, the deeper it gets. And the more value you receive. I’ve known this mentor for 19 years now and it’s getting better.

I hope this helps someone.

Bayo Adeyinka
By the way, do you have my books? Get a copy from @Rovingheights

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