"Do not go hunting for squirrel while you
have an elephant as a catch."
Lagos, Nigeria is a beautiful land filled with extraordinary people. I have had the opportunity to travel to the African region several times and I am always amazed at what I see and learn. It can be a bit overwhelming for an inner city kid from Compton. But each time I have the opportunity to travel, I’m learning in the words of Louis Armstrong “What a wonderful world this is.”
Lagos is a land filled with opportunities and brilliant citizens ready to take advantage of the new spirit that has been released in the last several years. A spirit of possibility, a renewed hope and a vision to create a great Nigeria. A conversation with a local is like having a history lesson; the people of Nigeria are very knowledgeable of their culture and history.
On this trip I planned to speak to a group of leaders and business owners and help them with growth opportunities. But as I expected, I received more than I could give.
Just wanted to share a few of the lessons I learned while in Lagos.
Lesson 1- Everyone Has a Dream
Life is a teacher. Always teaching lessons to those that are paying attention. This is a lesson I know well, but I love when it is reinforced. Upon arriving to the hotel, I was greeted by a young man that was eager to meet his new American guest. After a few exchanges of small words, this young man conveyed his dream of being an engineer to me. He worked at the hotel during the day, and took classes at night. Soon his life would change because of the education he was receiving. For this young man, the mountain of responsibility was great; his whole family was depending on him. A responsibility he was excited to take on. I offered a few words of encouragement and we exchanged emails to keep in contact. I was reminded that dreams are still the portal to a better life. Don’t stop dreaming.
Lesson 2- Opportunity Is Everywhere
As we drove around the city, I looked for a place to eat. I don’t like to venture out to much when it comes to eating. I spotted a Chinese restaurant and thought to myself, how interesting, a Chinese restaurant in Nigeria. Thinking to myself, one of the locals must have attended a culinary arts school that taught them how to prepare Chinese food. To my surprise when I entered the restaurant, I was greeted by a friendly Chinese man. After we were settled, I noticed the man sitting in the corner and I couldn’t resist going over and asking him how he got to Nigeria.
I greeted the gentleman once again and asked if I could ask him a few questions. Looking puzzled he agreed. Really all I wanted to know was how did he end up in Nigeria. Long story short, his son had come over for business and noticed there wasn’t any restaurants that served Chinese food. He told his parents upon his return and the rest is history as they say. I was floored and laughing at the same time. The man looked at me, and said “It was an easy choice; we own five restaurants here in Nigeria. It was a great opportunity.” If you have an open mind, you will see opportunity everywhere. As my mentor would say, “Open both your eyes.”
Lesson 3- Serve Your Best
I learned much on my trip, but I will stop with this lesson. What ever you do in life, be your best. Give your best and serve the best. I can remember as a little boy, when we had guest for dinner, my grandmother would use our best dishes, prepare the best meal possible. She wanted the guest to feel special. Everyone that comes in contact with you should feel special, like a guest. My teaching leadership and business principals to the world is my genius; I do everything possible to be my best. Doing your best at whatever you do will afford you great opportunities to serve, so serve your best!
I look forward to traveling back to Nigeria several more times to gather more great lessons.
What are some great lessons you learned while traveling?
Author, Genius Potential
America's #1 Leadership Life Trainer
Dr. Will is an author, speaker and leadership consultant....