Opinion: Thriving in Trying Times – Pt. 3

By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“Don’t believe in what you are called; it can trap you! don’t trust your titles. You have not done what you could do yet! What they have seen so far is only a fraction of who you are. Don’t allow what you have done prevent what you could do”. – Tolulope A. Adegoke

It is pertinent to note at this juncture that leaders initiate change. Leadership naturally demand change. Nigerians are not the problem, but the leaders. You can only lead people as far as you have gone yourself. If you do not improve, your organization will never improve. I have discovered something about developing countries because I was born in one and still live in one; when you give them a title, they stop learning. Nothing is worse for a Third-World man than giving him a promotion and a title, because he believes he has made it. Call someone a Manager or CEO or Honourable or Reverend or Bishop, they stop learning. And that’s when an organization stops working or growing. When you are given authority or title, you should buy more books, take more courses. Because you are not just leading your own life, you have lives to lead to a higher future and a higher level. This is why true leaders never graduate from the school of life, they are always learning. Dr Myles Monroe (of blessed memory) says “I read four to five books a month, I have been doing that for the past 22years…that means one book per week” because I must be re-educating myself. I am an eternal student.” You are reading this article, right now because you are willing to expand your mind. You cannot grow beyond what you know unless you grow what you know. To lead in trying times, you have to be a reader because readers may end up becoming leaders when they apply what has been learnt in the course of studies. This is why you should never allow anyone to prevent you from studying and growing. Also, never believe that you have made it. Don’t trust your titles. Don’t believe in what they call you, it can trap you. I am a recipient of several awards, but I do not allow them to get into my head, because the greatest enemy of your progress is your last success. Don’t trust what you have achieved. Don’t believe anybody’s accolades, because it is a trap. You have not done what you could do yet.  What they have seen so far is only a fraction of who you are. Stop being (a) mediocre! It’s time for you to stop complaining, and start studying. Don’t allow what you have done to prevent what you could do. The act of leadership is taking followers from where they are to a place they have never been. As a true leader, you have to be able to take people to where they have never been. That’s your role. Leadership is not about maintenance, it’s about innovation, exploration (that is, going beyond the box).

Leadership entails an adventure of thriving in creating a future, even in trying times, when all hope seems to be fading off. I strongly believe that many of you (readers) are tired of most of the trying moments confronting you. I sense strongly that you complain so much about it, it may be about your nation, family, continents or low-level leaders or government who tends to be taking you on a journey to no-where. But, if truly you desire a genuine change, you have to be willing to take an adventure into the unknown.

Thriving (could) entails some form of Discomfort.

Leaders will always create discomforts that are worthwhile. Why? Because they are uprooting people from their own familiarity. This is why true leaders seem not to be liked by a majority. They disturb your laziness; they also irritate your comfort. They make people do things that are uncommon, probably those things that these ones have never done before. They make people change their behaviours. In short, they frustrate your comfort-zones but re-shapes our cultures, ethics, norms and values. True leaders thrive the most in trying times because they are ‘disruptors’, they are catalysts! They always act as leverage to taking you from a place you know to a place that you do not know. The major problem with the majority across the world is that they like the familiar. It’s amazing how much we say we want ‘change’, and when it’s time to change we tend to hate it.

The Crisis Increases- it is called Trying Times

Thriving comes with a brand of leadership that naturally creates Change, and this comes with Crisis. We tend to talk about a crisis in the world today, even globally in diverse facets of life. But sincerely, all of that is not true. To me, there is no such thing as a Crisis. It doesn’t exist! A lot of people are doing so well, achieving great feats in the middle of a crisis, simply because they could see beyond the ordeals. Such people, like me, see opportunities! The Mentality Factor is key! Leaders create a crisis so that there can be more opportunities to thrive, they are not victims of them. Simply ask me how?

Leadership is an exercise in the management or the creation of crisis. A true leader says we would construct a six-lane road network. That’s a crisis! Because many people are used to the single lane-road, where they sell and hawk their goods in the middle of its pot-holes. Now, it’s a crisis because the government is trying to make a change happen on such a road network and many people may not be able to sell and hawk their good anymore. But it takes a leader to take such a drastic step for good change to occur within the system. This action creates discomfort for those benefiting from the bad road network. It is a crisis to take people to the level that they have never been, even though it may be a good place. Leaders initiate change…this change tends to change or reshapes the patterns of people’s lives, daily.

The Change Factor

You are a leader only if you initiate change. Managers only maintain things, while leaders change things. This is why a manager and a leader are completely different. Managers focus on systems, while leaders focus on people. Managers focus on the bottom-line, while leaders focus on the arising. Managers focus on what to do, while leaders focus on ‘why’ we are doing it. They think differently. And I strongly believe that you are finding this write-up interesting because it’s time for you to move into leadership. This moment on this write-up was a divine appointment because you are tired of being what you are. Probably you have been faking it for the last few years, telling your folks that you are having a good time. But why is this happening to you? it’s simple. You are bigger than who you really are. You are far stronger than what they say you are. You can do much more than their predictions about you. You are far better than what they said you are. And I am doing this write-up to irritate and infuriate you. You do not change until you are angry. Anger could be a crisis, but it could also be a weapon for a good change. Whatever you tolerate will never be changed by you. This is why ‘what’ you call crisis comes into your life. A crisis comes to take you out of the ordinary and forces to dream bigger! It forces you to be creative and innovative! There is no problem in your life or around you, they are only opportunities to be better and bigger. But you must be ready and determined to walk the work.

You all must come to understand that Change is your best friend! It is the only thing that is guaranteed and has your best interest at heart. Some nations are excelling bigger in this trying period because they are not seeing a crisis in the common senses or language of the ordinary thinkers or seers- these categories of nations are only seeing opportunities! And they all keep maximizing it, whether you like them or not for it! You must also come to understand that a ‘thing’ is exactly what you call it! They say opportunity, while the shallow thinkers say CRISIS!

Come on! You need to align yourself with Creative people. You need to start reading and studying the right books! Being with the wrong people and the bunch of complainers would only keep you stagnated and wanting or wishing for life if you are not careful. I charge you to change your relationships. As a matter of fact, you can never rise above the company you keep. If you are the smartest person in a group, then it’s time to leave such a group. Waking up from mental slumber is one of the greatest make-ups, which fine-tunes our beings into stepping up in the right order and lanes or platforms to thriving at any point in time of our lives.

Thank you for taking out time to relearn and re-educating yourself via this series. I wish you would apply it to real-life issues as they unfold with time.

Watch out for the Book titled: “The Power of an Empowered Zero” (From Zero to HERO) by Tolulope A. Adegoke. Foreword by Dr Yomi Garnett (CEO/Chancellor, Royal Biographical Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S.A., U.K., Abuja, Nigeria.) Edited by Ola Aboderin

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