But I learnt one thing in those periods: To focus on making myself better (skill-wise) rather than looking at the mounting issues, debts and problems. And that was the greatest resolve I think I made in those periods.
I made up my mind to be the very best in my field.
To be so good that when people think about my field I come to mind. Google “Leading speakers in Nigeria” and see what I mean.
Now even if I lose everything I have, I will use that same principle again. I will focus on being better (skill-wise and perhaps character-wise) rather than focus on the problems.
Jim Rohn said it perfectly. He said, “Don’t wish for less challenges. Wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems. Wish for more skills. Things will not change unless you first change.”
One of the skills I focused on was public speaking/presentation, persuasion and negotiation. In fact, I worked hard to master the entire mechanics and dynamics of communication, oral and written.
I remember going to meet Ubong Essien , a leading motivational speaker in Nigeria, to learn how he was raking in so much money doing training and speaking engagements. I also met bestselling author Praise George to share with me his ideas on effective book writing and sales. I met with Adeolu Akinyemi, a financial consultant and MLM expert, and asked him questions.
They all kept saying that communication (written and oral) was actually the most important skill I should develop.
My quest to develop this skill of written and oral communication to appreciable level caused me to spend countless hours on the internet devouring hundreds of materials on public speaking, persuasion, copywriting and negotiation.
I attended scores of seminars and meetings and watched presenters. I read and studied hundreds of copies and sales letters.
Fela Durotoye’s passionate presentation and depth of research excited me.
Leke Alder’s creative use of words and depth to explain concepts enthralled me.
Listening to Sam Adeyemi’s soft punchy presentations got me always thinking.
They were and are the masters!
They were all millionaires. And they had largely raked their millions from their ability to effectively communicate both through oral and written presentations.
I watched hundreds of videos and personally practiced before the mirror again and again.
I created and staged scenarios and imagined delivering on point always before any audience.
Meanwhile, I was still struggling financially. I was still behind on my bills.
But like I said I chose to focus on developing these skills rather than on the mounting issues.
In a few years, I started getting some headway. I reduced my debt.
I found my way to be on a local TV and did motivational speeches for free on air.
I found a way to write for local newspapers and magazines and contributed to a national daily. Some churches invited me to give presentations for little or nothing. I accepted every invitation. My goal was to use all these platforms to create a brand and also improve myself.
My business was still struggling seriously but I found a way to keep it going.
When I didn’t have an office, I used a friend’s place as my contact address.
When my friend kicked me out, I used a cyber café that I patronized regularly as my contact and did a lot of online interactions. Sometimes, I met clients at fast food restaurants.
I just kept finding ways! You know there was this temptation to give up on several occasions. As a matter of fact, I did.
My people told me to look for a job.
I was once at the British Embassy to find a way out of the country. They denied me visa.
I moved to Port Harcourt and worked with a certain trainer and pastor. The venture lasted 2 months. The so-called pastor kept telling me that I had to totally abandon my dreams and follow his. I just couldn’t.
I will share more with you in my next episode.