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No mentors, no endorsements – Part 2

By David Osiri
12 October 2021   |   3:33 am
Someone once tweeted, “don’t despise poor people. That you are rich is not because you are hardworking and they are lazy.

Someone once tweeted, “don’t despise poor people. That you are rich is not because you are hardworking and they are lazy. But it is a product of luck and fate that decided to shine on you.” You may not believe in the concept of luck, fate or destiny because they are intangible. But some sponsors make things happen for some people.

Remember the TV series I mentioned earlier? Every person who made it to the top at that law firm had a mentor who was their sponsor. In addition to guiding them in their career path, they also pushed for the advancement of their protégée. So, success is not necessarily a matter of luck as it is the blessing of having someone mention your name where it matters. And that person will most likely be your mentor who knows your capabilities and strengths. Alhaji Dangote is the richest man in Africa. But even he needed a sponsor to help him start his business. And that was where his uncle Alhaji Dantata came in, giving him the funding and right connections, he needed. Sponsorship is beyond funding, therefore mentees should not expect funding from their mentors, though it does happen under special circumstances. Do you still think you do not need a mentor?

In politics, when a person wants to run for any position, they begin to solicit endorsements. Once they get the endorsement of someone or people who carry weight with the people, they know victory is near. The approval of this sponsor sells them to the people as someone worthy of their votes. But unlike in politics, where endorsements and sponsorships might be for sale, you need to have a level of rapport with someone before they endorse you. And your best bet is your mentor. Some mentors groom their mentees to fit into their shoes after they leave. Hence, when the time comes to select the next in line, your name would naturally go into the conversation. If you can have it this easy, why would you want it otherwise?

It is not too late to get a mentor and take advantage of their sponsorship. First, you need to identify people within your organisation or sphere who can be mentors and sponsors. They need to be people who have the power to make decisions and guide you on your life, career, or business path. They should have highly connected and top decision-makers. Then, you need to attract their attention. They should see that you have potential and are worth the risk because mentors take a risk whenever they nominate someone for a position. If the person defaults, the sponsor gets the backlash, which could hurt their career, so they must see that you are trustworthy and would be an asset to them. So, find areas you can be of value to potential mentors/sponsors.

While at it, try to build a rapport with them. Finally, let them know you need help. Ask them for advice, let them know you value their knowledge, time and experience. And when they offer advice, take it and implement it. Present yourself as someone ready to learn. Let them know they will not be wasting their time with you. If you do all these, you will find yourself under the tutelage of a mentor in no time.

If you are determined to make headway and be successful in your career, business, relationships and other critical areas of your life, find yourself a mentor who would sponsor and endorse you where it matters. If you do this, in no time, you will climb the ladder to the top. And when you have the opportunity and skill, do not hesitate to mentor and sponsor another person. We rise by helping others rise.


Osiri is a mentorship awareness ambassador.