I got lost in a hotel I once checked in, and this is how it all came about. That day was Sunday, and I was en route to Port Harcourt for a five-day training that was scheduled to commence early the next day. I started out late, thus I arrived pretty late—by nightfall, actually. Getting a taxicab and driving down to a hotel was trouble-free, yet that wasn’t all there was. When I arrived at the hotel, the porter was on ground to do his stuff while I moved to sort myself out with two beautiful ladies at the reception.
At the end of the transaction, one of the ladies handed me a key with Room 206 boldly written on it and then asked the porter to lead me to my room. The short journey to my room was smooth and, for me, it was something that was usually usual. Since my training was scheduled in the same hotel, and I needed to be certain that the venue was in order, I dropped my luggage and immediately asked the porter to show me to the training hall. And he gladly did. “Well, it’s okay,” I thought, as I examined the hall, “only that we’d have to rearrange the seats a little.” When I was done with the inspection, I asked the porter some unsettled questions, offered him a nod of release, and then started my journey back to Room 206—but this time, without the porter.
Sauntering back to Room 206 was somewhat strange. First, I took the first bend and then the second and then the third, yet I didn’t see the floor where Room 206 was situated. Somehow, without paying attention to the numbers affixed to each floor, I had strolled unknowingly to the wrong floor. Instinctively aware that I had missed the route to my room, I decided to retrace my steps. For the next seven minutes or so I walked, yet I couldn’t discover the floor that led to Room 206. I was lost and I knew it and I wasn’t happy! At that point, I began to feel a bit embarrassed—and scared. I was scared because if I didn’t find my way to Room 206 before tomorrow, I was in soup—ha, jokingly I meant! “How on earth would my trainees ever forgive me if I kept them waiting simply because I got lost in a hotel?” I thought. No sooner had that silly thought hit my mind than I saw a Good Samaritan, the porter, heading towards me. Phew! I gave a sigh of relief and then began to walk towards him too. “Sir, do you need room service or something?” the porter asked, sensing that I needed either. (Sure, I needed something. I needed Room 206!) “Um…yeah,” I replied, “could you please lead me to Room 206?” The porter led the way, and hey presto, there came Room 206! Honestly, I felt like spanking myself. I thanked the porter…and then I learnt my lesson…and then I learnt the route. Who knows, if not for that porter, I probably would have remained lost in a hotel in Port Harcourt! Please, when next you lodge in a hotel, try and tip those porters. They really deserve it, believe me.
There is something about life that I find quite fascinating. And that’s the fact that she—unlike most teachers or lecturers in our dwindling educational system—is always eager to teach us something old, something novel, and something abiding. And that fateful Sunday, in that hotel in Port Harcourt, life taught me the old, the novel, and the abiding truth of success. Actually, what she taught me is something that you’ve heard of before (The Old), something that you need to hear again (The Novel), and something that you should never forget (The Abiding). “What is it?” you may want to ask. Well, it’s called The Weight of Mentorship.
Oftentimes in life we get lost while striving to birth our dreams. We know what we want but it appears that we don’t know how to go about it. Or, we know how to go about it yet what we know never seems to produce the results that we truly desire. If that explains your position, then several others and I are standing right next to you—you’re not alone. But the good news is that, we can change all of that now! How? Embrace mentorship. Listen, whatever vision you carry, whatever destination you seek, someone has once travelled that route. And when you embrace mentorship, you expose yourself to the wisdom that that person carries. What mentorship does for you in life could be likened to what that porter did for me in that hotel. A mentor uses his knowledge, resources, experiences, and wisdom to lead you to your dreams. In other words, he helps in connecting you to the floor that leads to the Room 206 of your dreams, so to speak. Since he’s familiar with the route and the trenches, he guides you as you travel the path to success.
As you move ahead in life, as you set out to confronting life’s challenges, it’s critical that you have a mentor. However, let me quickly point out two important ideas. One, your mentor mustn’t be the big names you see on TV or the glitterati you see on the cover story of success magazines. I don’t believe in that. If there is someone close to you, someone whose values you could learn from, then I’d strongly advise you walk up to that person and ask him to mentor you. Two, mentorship is a symbiotic relationship. Don’t enter into a mentoring relationship with a parasitic mindset. It actually kills! Rather, also be committed to adding value to your mentor. Or don’t you think it’s nice to bless a mentor who’s committed to showing you the way to true success? Well, I think it’s not just nice, but it’s also a true display of raw wisdom.
Chinonso Ogbogu is a highly sought-after conference speaker, personal development trainer, prolific writer, and radio personality. He is the radio host of SuccessMatters™ and the creator of the GET INSIGHT, GET INSPIRED™ brand.