I published my book, Epistle of Sex, in 2012. Around June, I was doing online publicity for the book launch when I received a message from one of the respected speakers in the industry (let me make it clear that motivational speaking and life coaching has no industry. At least, not yet. I used industry for lack of the right word).
In the message, he told me how he has been following my works and that he is proud of me. He sent his numbers and asked that I come see him in his office before the launch. To say I was happy, is an understatement. I went to the market bought gifts – books that I would give to him. The fact that he asked to see me was privilege enough.
I called him and we fixed an appointment. Getting to his office, the receptionist was my first problem. Her dress was provocative and so revealing that my body responded. Mehn! I had an erection. When I couldn’t bear it anymore, I asked her if I could excuse myself for some minutes and took a walk out of the office. While walking, I was asking myself how a whole human being with blood and water running in him would survive this temptation without running mad.
I returned to the office a quarter of an hour later and it took another 30 minutes-the longest of my life-before I could see him. On seeing him, I was overwhelmed, the ecstasy was something else. Me, small Matthew, sitting in the office of someone I look up to. Mehn! I felt like I was in heaven.
I sat down at his order and the first thing he said to me after asking for a copy of my book was, “What is the name of this person doing in your book? Son, this is a waste of your ink.”
The smile on my face disappeared.
He soon started telling me stories of how the said person was in his office some years ago and rejected his advice and the person is nowhere to be found, today. I was not only shocked for the person in question was more popular than he is, but that the others he called had no good record with him.
I thought he was done until he started ridiculing my own book, too. He literally finished my life with words. After about ninety minutes with him, he condescendingly asked that I bring the money from my book launch to come buy a CD he was selling for N10,000. I left the office confused and depressed. “This cover is so beautiful. None of my books is as beautiful as this,” was the only ‘positive’ remark he made.
I got home and for two weeks, I blanked out. I couldn’t even write anything on Facebook. I had needed his validation so much and for him to say those words, I figured I wasn’t called to do this. Even so, I went to God in prayer and the only thing the Holy Spirit told me was: “He was not there when I called you. He did not know what I said to you.”
I got my groove back and started writing on Facebook.
The first day he saw me do what he said I should not do again, he sent me a message: “Son, you don’t listen and anyone who does not listen to the words of the fathers will never succeed.” That’s an abridged version of his message, by the way. I read it, ignored and continued writing.
Soon after, he posted on his wall: “When I advise young speakers and writers, many do not listen. Twenty years down the line, none has succeeded.” I saw it and I went to my wall and wrote: “In twenty years time, I would remind you.”
He blocked me immediately. It’s been less than twenty years now, yet the deaf, dumb, blind and even the dead know he was wrong.
After I narrated this issue to my friend, Olujosh, he shared some deep secrets with me and he said something I will never forget in my life: “Most times, the person you are scared of is scared of you. And sometimes, the person you are looking up to, doesn’t want you to reach him, so he wants to clone you.”
After that incident, I was not willing to submit to any mentor. I was just doing my thing in my own way and trust me, I succeeded. In minding my own business, I got close to my current mentor. Though I’ve known him as far back as 2005, I hated him then. Why? I found it ridiculous that someone would be asking us not to have sex. Today, it’s funny that I am also championing that same cause.
Minding my business taught me that you can succeed without a mentor. Having my current mentor taught me that though you can succeed without a mentor, a good mentor accelerates your success.
In my first meeting with my mentor, he said to me: “Don’t make anyone an expert over your life. If I tell you something now and as you leave my office, your spirit is saying something different, follow your spirit. I won’t be angry with you.” That statement was stranger than fiction.
Since late 2012 till now, being mentored by Praise Fowowe is one of the miracles that has happened to me. In fact, I would be right to say he chose to mentor me.
Dear young speaker and coach, your mentor is your foster father/mother. Your success is his/her major responsibility. Like Niyi Adesanya once said, “Young speakers, don’t let anybody make you feel you are privileged to be mentored by them. We are the ones privileged to be your mentors. Anyone that is too busy for you is not your mentor. Your true mentor is the one who can pick his phone to call you, who prays for you, who is concerned about you. He is your father and a good father would not make his son feel like he is privileged to be born by him.”
Mentorship is not cloning. Mentorship helps you to become your real self and gives you wings to fly. Anything less than this is not mentorship but ‘tormentorship’.
In choosing a mentor, you must first of all know who you are. Not knowing who you are can make you a clone of someone else and you will be seeking outer validation.
I must add that a mentor is one who knows his real protégé(s). Many of the people you call mentors can’t even point at you as their protégé.
Ask anyone who the mentor of David Abioye is and you will hear David Oyedepo.
Ask who was the mentor of Kenneth Copeland and you would hear Kenneth Hagin.
Ask who the mentor of Steve Harris is and you will hear Fela Durotoye. Ask who was Praise Fowowe’s mentor and you would hear Myles Munroe. Ask who the mentor of Matthew ‘Femi-Adedoyin is and you will hear Praise Fowowe.
If we ask your mentor who his protégés are, will your name be mentioned?
Think about this.
To be continued…
© Matthew ‘Femi-Adedoyin
Matthew ‘Femi-Adedoyin is the Principal Partner at Abstinence Icon and Visionary of Maximum Impact Network.