Why You MUST NEVER Take Access for Granted

I just read a pitch from a 19 year old that entirely lifted my spirit. My day is made already. There are so many brilliant kids out there looking for opportunities. If you have knocked on doors that never opened or had doors slammed on your face you’ll know what it means to have a foot in the door.

Never take access for granted. Never abuse an opportunity. There are many who will give anything to have the ‘Yes’ you’re taking for granted, and what determines if it’s a ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ is NOT ALWAYS within your control. You can only do your best. Be good, Very good, at what you do. Be ‘exactly what the doctor recommended’, but know that you are enjoying an opportunity. Use it well

For 2 years (1995 and 1996), I wrote to everyone that mattered in media & entertainment. I wanted an opportunity to intern. I did not get a single response. In 1998 it took me the entire year to get a venue (Party House on Allen) and financial support (Zmirage) for my first major event (YAFEM).

In 2004, fresh out of UI, I paraded Encomium Magazine for several months, wrote plenty pieces, & begged for opportunity to be a reporter. Between 1998 and 2004 I spent time squatting with Ayo Animashaun and Charles Mayomi (Father U Turn’s elder bro). When Animashaun faced hard times and ‘moved’ into his office (a ‘shop’ actually, inside Sahadatu plaza, off Allen), I moved in with him. We shared bathroom and toilet with the guards. Only a few people knew we slept there.

One day 2face and Blackface came visiting. We gave them a ride in Animashaun’s beetle and dropped them off at Toyin roundabout. In the rain. 2 and Black were going to see a potential financier. They were looking for a ‘YES’. You know the rest of the story

Long journey really. Plenty story

Do you think you’re doing well because you’re THAT good? Know this: a couple of ‘YES’ can change your life for good. A couple of ‘NO’, for bad

The lesson for me is this: although I am now in a position where I can say I’m living my dreams, I do understand that I’m here because I had people give me opportunities, I was prepared for those opportunities and I was fortunate to use them well. I got a ‘YES’ from those I needed to squat with as I tried to escape from Okokomaiko. I got a ‘YES’ from the venue owner (Jerry Anazia) and Zmirage. I got a ‘YES’ (finally) from Encomium and THISDAY and Punch (I had earlier failed a test to work at The Punch). I got a lot of ‘YES’ from all the musicians and actors that came on board when I set out in PR and I also got a ‘YES’ from the corporate brands that joined us much later

I’m an average writer at best. I finished Uni with a 3rd class and had no formal training in journalism or PR. But I had dream. I learned all I had to and I worked hard and looked for opportunities. God used men and women to open the doors, and here we are

I still have a long way to go but I can see clearly how far I’ve come. Since 1995. I see what the future holds if I don’t mess it up.

I’m sorry. The document from a 19 year old set me off on this rant. I’m dazzled when I see young people determined to change their lives

I’m going to do something. Can you please send me a mail if you’re between 18 and 25, work in PR, media or social media. Subject: twitter rant. I’m going to request you do just one thing (as a test) and I will commit to supporting as many as I can in different relevant ways.


In Celebration of Kunle Bakare: A Man Who Doesn’t Want To Be Celebrated

It was 10 years in June, since my first byline appeared in Encomium Weekly. My first byline anywhere, really. It was one of the most difficult periods of my life. Let me explain:

My mother died in April, just as I was rounding up work on my final year project at University of Ibadan. I fell ill shortly afterwards, and was hospitalized for weeks. I was too ill to attend my mom’s burial. Continue reading…