Monday, March 26, 2012


Hello and welcome to another great week, another opportunity to move our dreams closer to the mark.  We are still on the series of Mentoring and today I want to take time out to answer some of the questions that have come back from the last two posts.  All these questions are from Mentees or prospective Mentees.

  1. I am in a mentoring program run by an organisation, how do I set a framework seeing one already exists?  First of all recognise that even though the organization running the Mentoring programme is committed to ensuring that you get the best out of it, it is your responsibility to drive the process.  They would have done their best to pair both the Mentor and the Mentee and have given guidelines on how to proceed.  The reason why this is important is because of the peculiarity of your personalities and difference in the schedules of all involved.  It is impossible for the organization to be able to envisage how your mentoring relationship will work out.  So my answer is even within their framework, once you get to know your Mentor, there is need for you to set up a framework that is peculiar to you both. 
  2. My Mentor did not ask for a framework, what do I do?  Again, because you are the Mentee and the one who needs to get something out of the relationship, you drive the process. What this means is even when your Mentor is fluid and did not insist on a framework, you need to set up one.  Your needs will determine the framework you should put together and though you cannot impose said frame work, you can do a list of your expectations based on what you want to achieve.  Also, you need to ask about the frequency of meeting times, and preferred meeting places.  Let your needs determine the framework.
  3. Can I have more than one Mentor?  Definitely, you can have more than one Mentor.  Those who have only one Mentor, have what is called a Primary Mentor.  And usually this one person tends to give them guidance and counsel in practically every facet of their lives.  The more rampart kind of mentoring however, is when people pick Mentors for their different needs.  These specified mentors are known as Secondary Mentors.  They are in your life to help you achieve a particular thing and do not cross beyond the limits of that particular objective.  No matter how many Mentors you end up having please ensure that you are clear on what each of them is offering and how you will relate to them within the confines of their respective frameworks.
  4. What if I don’t have any skills, what do I give back?  First and foremost, everyone has something to offer.  It is because you have something that you even qualify for a Mentor.  The issue is not the size of what you give back but the recognition that you should and therefore try to give back.  If for instance you are an Accountant by training, and your Mentor runs a business, you can suggest that you come in once in a while to ensure that the books are in order.  If you love children and your Mentor has young children, you can also volunteer to babysit once in a while to free her to do other things she may need to do.  This doesn’t make you less the person you are, it just shows you appreciate your Mentor’s efforts and contributions to your success.  When you get to know your Mentor it will become easy to discern what you can give back to the relationship.
  5. Is my Mentor my friend, Boss or Supervisor?  No!  Your Mentor is not any of the above things to you.  He is not your Boss simply because you are not in a relationship so he can yell at you and issue commands for you to follow.  What you have is a mutually beneficial relationship and so he should treat you as such.  He is not your Supervisor either; he cannot be there every minute breathing down your neck to see what you are doing.  His job is to make suggestions and give counsel.  You even have a choice to follow them or not.  What I will ask is that you are responsible enough to explain to them why you may not be able to follow through on their suggestions at the time.  Your Mentor is not your friend; even though some of those relationships evolve into the friendship status.  However, please always remember to be respectful even when you become friends.
  6. What if my Mentor doesn’t let me make any contributions?  Yes, it is possible to have a Mentor who has a dominant personality and therefore, may not give you the chance of day.  But that is why you are an individual, there is a need for you to ensure that your voice is heard; be respectful about it, but make your contributions nevertheless.  What you require in a situation like this is to ensure that the contributions you make when the relationship takes off are valuable enough for your Mentor to look forward to.

Remember, dreaming is not enough, there is a need for action. A dream is not one until it is alive.  Today, I encourage you to live wide awake!  One step today and you are closer to the mark than you were yesterday.  You will make it NeverTheless, I promise you will.


Sistar B

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Monday, March 19, 2012


Thanks for stopping by, hope you found the last post useful.  We will continue with the series on Mentoring.  The most come back I received based on the last post, was from people who had been in some mentoring relationship or the other but are unable to say that the relationship has benefitted them much.

Mentoring like every other endeavour requires some framework to be effective.  The mentoring relationship is one for which we have the need to set scope, parameters and boundaries if it will yield expected results for the participants.

Most of those who came back to me on the mentoring relationships were people who worked in organisations where Mentoring has been adopted as a culture and therefore Managers are assigned Mentees to guide and help achieve success.  Now because the relationship is already, as it were, forced, there is the tendency that the individuals may not have chemistry, and that can impede rather than enhance what they set out to achieve.  The Mentee should always seek the Mentor out.  It is the Protégée who needs something so he should be the one asking for the help and the one driving the process. Once a third party is involved, it becomes a doctored relationship and may not yield much.

Two weeks ago, a young woman made an appointment to see me and she was asking me to mentor her concerning her preferred profession and dream.  We spent quite some time just talking. I asked her about herself because I was trying to determine if we had chemistry at all.  I also gave her the opportunity to ask me questions so she could also learn about me, just to be sure that I was what she was looking for.

By the end of two hours I was sufficiently convinced that we could move on to the next step.  Now I need you to pay attention to these steps.  I asked her to do three things.

1.  Do me a short write up on where she sees herself in the next ten years.  I wanted to know her dreams, aspirations and her goals.  This was to help me determine if she had clarity for where she wanted to go, and how I might be able to guide her.

2.  I asked her to do me a list of the qualities she was looking for in a Mentor.  This was to help think through what she was looking for and to also give her the opportunity to determine if I was the person she wanted.  I told her that if she handed in this list and I didn't feel as though I qualified or thought I knew someone more qualified to guide her, I was going to help her make the appointment.

3.  The last thing I asked her to do was to also do a short write upon what value she was going to add to me while I mentored her.  The reason this point made it into my requirements is simple.  I had been in Mentoring Relationships in the past either as a Mentor or Mentee, where I didn't feel any fulfillment neither did the other party receive any.  With benefit of hindsight, I find that the reason the Mentor tires of a mentoring relationship is because it was more parasitic than it was symbiotic.  This relationship lasts more and is a lot more effective, when both parties know that they will gain something.

Remember that as the Mentee you drive the process, so even when your Mentor has not taken care to insist on a framework, do your best to suggest one.  Always remember to let them know what value you can add to their work and use that as the launch pad for setting up a workable framework.

Don't forget that living a dream isn't so much about the dreaming as it is about the living.  Action is what makes a dream reality, so this week do something that will bring you closer to your life dream or goal.

Before I go, here is a shout out to Mothers all over; there are no Mentors like you anywhere. Thank you for your love, sacrifice and guidance, God bless and reward you greatly.

Stick to the process and you will make it NevertheLess.  I promise, you will make it.

                                                Click here for the audio version of this post.

Sistar B

Monday, March 12, 2012


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It is great to be back on this page.  Thank you to all who have responded to this blog either by posting a comment, sending an email or commenting on Facebook.  It is an honour to have you in my world and to be able to share my gift and learning experience with you.

I have done my best in the years that I have worked my dream to share the lessons I have learnt in the hope that others will find it easier to reach their goals with less mistakes than I made and with the hope that their dreams will progress faster than if they had to find their way alone.

Today's post and maybe a couple after, we will be looking at the difference that having a Mentoring relationship can make in the time it takes to achieve our goals and the quality of success that we record.  This post is actually informed by a question someone sent in asking how they can find a Mentor or Coach.

What Is Mentoring?  The word Mentor comes out of the Greek mythology on Odysseus.  When King Odysseus went to fight the Trojan War and left his son behind with his trusted friend, Mentor, to look after.  The war took ten years and Odysseus wandered another decade after the war; all the time that Mentor spent in bringing up his son to become a fine young and responsible young man.

Mentoring is therefore when two people, who otherwise may not have a relationship, intentionally come together with the goal of the more experienced one helping the less experienced grow and achieve greatness in a particular field.

A mentoring relationship is when two people get together with the intention of the Mentor teaching time tested principles that can enhance the life and dream of the Mentee with the goal of creating and adding value to both of them and their society at large.  Mentoring has been used over the years.  

The question becomes why do you need a mentor? 

We all know that experience is the best teacher, the lessons learnt from experience stick faster and longer than those learnt in any formal school environment.  Wise people take advantage of the benefit of another's experience.  There are lessons we don't want to and do not need to learn from our own experience. If we know someone around us who has already learnt them and is willing to pass it on, we should be grateful to learn from them.

Experiences come at a cost, and Mentoring saves us that cost in actual monetary value and in pain and mistakes that come with learning a new thing. Mentoring accelerates the time we should spend on any one principle.  It is like traveling to new territory and having the advantage of going the journey with someone who has been there before.  Mentoring is owning our own human GPS.  We don't get lost and are most likely to arrive our destination faster than if we had to use a map.  Our Mentor can tell us what the map cannot, like what route is free at what time, and which road has the less number of bottlenecks and things like that.

The point of today's post is this: you don't need to reinvent an already existing wheel nor do you need to find the way yourself if you can find someone who is willing to show you the way.

I had published Effectual for about four years when I wanted to change the look and quality.  I knew what I wanted and could draw you a picture, the resources to begin to publish at that level of professionalism and quality was not the problem I faced, my biggest challenge was finding my way to those who offered the services I required. One meeting of not more than an hour with another Publisher, who obliged me the time, was all I required. At the end of that meeting, I had every piece of information I required and contact information of those I needed to make my dream happen, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I learned fast from that experience that what I needed to succeed was not all in what I knew but that I could ask questions and find answers faster than I could if I did it alone.

Whether you are already living a dream or considering one, one of the greatest resources that I will recommend is that you 

a. Identify a Mentor
b. Cultivate a relationship with the Mentor
c.  Nurture the relationship
d.  Begin to reap the harvest of benefiting from his/her experience.

Till next week when I bring you tips on the different kinds of Mentors and how to pick one, remember that smart people do not reinvent an already effective wheel.

Stick with the plan people and you will make it NeverTheLess.

Sistar B

Monday, March 5, 2012

Deploy The Pain: Live Your Dream Life Now! (with audio)

Please click on play button for the audio blog.

In the last two weeks there have been instances of a lot of people who got to their offices one morning only to find that they had been relieved of their jobs without warning. It literally seemed like the rug was pulled out from under their feet.  A good number of them have started to update their CVs and circulate same, hoping to get another job soon.

I have also spoken to a number of people who though still have a job know within themselves that somehow there isn't job security anymore and they recognise that their best bet will be to begin something of their own.  Something they can run and not be fired from, in which they can find fulfillment and hopefully employ others and treat them better than they were treated on their job!

After each conversation, we always agree that they need to start from somewhere, but just never decide where!  As a Coach my job isn't to provide the answers but to ask the questions that help my clients see the options that they have.

That is why for those who were let go from  their jobs, I will say, yes, you were treated badly and let go without warning so you are hurt and upset but my question is "what will you do with the pain and hurt you are feeling right now?”

To those who still have a job but are clearly disappointed and unfulfilled by the way they are treated and even with the rewards they are getting, the question is "how will you deploy your dissatisfaction to bring about the change you want?

One of my most popular posts on NeverTheLess is one titled Pain is Good, and basically, I was trying to point out that if we look real hard, there is always some good that comes out of the pain we experience.  

Change does not come because we are dissatisfied, change does not come to us because we desire it; change comes when we begin to harness our pains, hurts or dissatisfaction by taking concrete steps towards the fulfillment of a dream life.

During one of my conversations, someone mentioned that the truth is that we always know that we should be doing something that qualifies as our dream; we don't however, because we always think we have time.

If you have lost a job, it is your opportunity to begin to define your dreams and take steps towards actualising them. If you still have a job but know you want more, then it is time to begin to work towards your dream life.  Whatever you do take the pain and deploy it wisely.  Here are a few practical steps you can take:

1.  Write down the Vision
2.  Find out everything possible you can about the Vision.
3.  Test your skill level
4.  Make a list of what you require and 
5.  Begin to put the requirements together
6.  Find a Partner if you realise you need one.
7.  Begin, no matter how small.

Finally, please go into the archives of NeverTheLess, and read the post on Defining Your Dreams: Asking the right questions.  Should you have questions, feel free to write in.

Whether you lost a job or are dissatisfied with what you have, here is your opportunity for your dream life to begin.  You will make it NeverTheLess.


Sistar B