After weeks of trying and hustling and fighting to book an appointment with a world-renowned & successful entrepreneur, a young budding Nigerian businessman eventually got the opportunity to spend 15 minutes with the mentor of his dreams.
After spending the first 10 minutes to greet and appreciate his mentor for the opportunity to meet with him, he proceeded to use the remain 5 minutes to talk about the “deal” he came to discuss. The young protege complained about how things have been difficult for him and how he had been living “from hand to mouth”. He concluded his narrative & dramatic speech by asking the mentor to “help a brother out by sparing some change.”
The successful businessman was furious.
“So you struggled to get an appointment with me just to ask for change? You didn’t ask me how I survived my early days of struggle in business. You didn’t ask me how I handled creditors that almost took me to jail just because I couldn’t pay on time. You didn’t ask me how my wife and children survived in my trying times and what was my inspiration. You didn’t ask me for the books that I’ve read that got me to where I am today. You didn’t ask me what negotiations tactics I used to buy a N180 billion property with only N20,000 in my account. ….and you sit there asking me to spare you some change?”
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Consequently, the rich businessman stood up by his and uttered words that seemed to surprise the protege: “I’m sorry your time is up and I have another appointment to attend to. Kindly meet my assistant and he’ll give you N500 so you can use it to buy the book titled How to win friends & influence people. Have a nice day gentleman.”
And with those few words he showed him the door.
There’s a group of people reading this that might think the reaction of the successful businessman was harsh. If I was the successful businessman, I probably won’t even have given the guy a dime. If all you can do when spending time with someone -you consider a mentor – is to ask for money to “survive”, then your journey to success is still farther than you think.
I recently had an encounter similar to the one above and after realizing that the protege in question had actually “wasted” 60mins of my life talking about things that was not relevant to moving his life forward, I had to be blunt and told him my mind. I explained the importance of valuing your mentor’s time in such a way that you’ll ask the right questions that will catapult you from where you’re sitting to where you mentor is seating. I scolded him for not asking questions like the following: * How did you make you first Million in Photography?
* How have you been able to marry your marriage with your photography? * How do I reach clients that won’t be pricing my work like market women?
* How do I run a photography conference in such a way as not to be indebted to dozens of vendors at the end of the day
I ended my 10-minute scolding by instructing him to read the aforementioned book (along with “You Can Negotiate Anything” by Herb Cohen) before he considers booking an appointment to see me again. I’ll be surprised if he reads the two books in the next 4 weeks. I’ll be surprised.
Many of us want to be successful in life but we’re not ready to do whatever it takes. The fact that you’re praying and fasting to be like Bill Gates or Aliko Dangote does not mean you’ll be like them without paying the price.