Sunday, October 24, 2021

Life Lately: Winter Blues, Finding & Working with a Mentor

Today is a great day for football. At 15.15 BST, there’s El Clásico, the first of the post-Messi era. Then at 16.30 BST there’s Liverpool vs. Manchester United. Both will be great games for neutral fans, but I am rooting for Real Madrid and Manchester United (for Ronaldo). Fingers crossed at least one of the two carry the day.


Lovely blue skies at the Victoria Park

The past week was tough on my energy levels. It was grey and wet from Monday through Thursday, and I missed the sun very badly. I am a child of Ibadan, where the sun never misses its daily rendezvous with the earth. Four autumns down the line, I still find it difficult to go days without seeing the sun. By Thursday I had taken to praying for some blue in the sky, and when I saw that it would be sunny on Friday – I knew I had to take the day off and get outside. I hope that sustains me through the next few weeks.

Yesterday, I joined a panel to discuss Learning, Networking, and Mentorship with the Young Men’s community group of The Covenant Nation. I think and write about learning a lot (see Are You Getting the Learning You Need, Learn and be Curious) so I mostly thought about the mentoring side of things while preparing for the session. Newton wasn’t exaggerating when he wrote that standing upon the shoulders of giants had enabled him to see further. My mentors have supported and enabled me through many turning points in my life. This has ranged from providing on-the-job coaching to helping me combat debilitating risk-aversion and investing thousands of dollars in me and my dreams. I thought through some tips for finding and working with a mentor and I’ll share those below.

First, finding a mentor. 1) While mentorship relationships don’t always have to be formal, I think there needs to be a process of identifying someone who you aspire to be like in some way. 2) I think it’s also important that it be someone who is available to invest their time in providing guidance and answering questions. The personal relationship is important and is a key distinguishing point between role-models and mentors. 3) Finally, I like my mentors to be people I connect with. It’s easier to build a successful mentorship relationship with someone you ‘vibe’ with, because you’re then more likely to stay engaged with each other. In fact, where possible the connection should probably come before the mentorship.

Second, working with a mentor. 1) I think it’s important to think about what I can do for my mentors. In the past this has ranged from giving time to sharing podcast episodes and HBR articles. One-way relationships are generally less likely to thrive over the long term. 2) It’s also key to be very clear what you’re seeking from them and how you will engage with them. Is this person mentoring you on a grad-school journey, in career, or in family? How often will you connect with them? 3) Lastly, make sure to show them how you’re acting on their advice. If you’re choosing not to act, let them know why too. It needs to be clear to them that you’re not wasting their time. In fact, I have taken to starting my mentorship connects by summarising what I’ve done with the output from the previous connect.

Speaking of mentors, Ehis, my first mentor at P&G and a thoroughly inspiring and supportive figure, was recently interviewed by the comms. team at P&G. In this interview, she answers 10 Questions that are posed to the top mentors at P&G and shares many useful gems. I totally recommend!

Link to the full interview is here


What I’m currently reading: Four Thousand Weeks, by Oliver Burkeman. Four thousand weeks is how much time you get if you live to be 80 (it’s 4,160 weeks to be precise). When people are asked to guess this without doing the math, they overstate the number of weeks significantly. That makes sense. We tend to think we have more time than we really do. After a run of books aimed at helping you get more out of your time, Four Thousand Weeks is a welcome time-‘unmanagement’ book. Oliver points out that we’re constantly living in an imagined future. We ‘hustle’ with the time we have today, because we will ‘chill’ tomorrow. But when tomorrow comes – we just hustle even more. I have really connected with this book and I’ve highlighted about half of the pages I’ve read so far. It’s a solid 5/5 for me.

What I’m currently listening to: I’ve had Hillsong Worship’s Elohim on repeat for the past two weeks. It’s a simple and lovely song that describes God as love. I should state that Marty Sampson, who wrote and performed the song, later renounced his Christianity. He wrote or co-wrote many of my favourite worship songs, such as Carry Me, You Are My World, To the Ends of the Earth, and Best Friend. Having had my own struggles with my faith, I feel very strongly for him, and I pray for his restoration.


  1. You inspire me, Koye! I missed your post last week and checked on you on Twitter. Glad you feel better. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you very much, for checking in and for stopping by again yesterday! :-). I didn't think many people would notice that I skipped a week so it was nice of you to notice and reach out :-). Have a nice week ahead!