“Newscasters always drink tea when they go on break,” my neighbour, Aunty Tope, told me as I sat between her legs while she plaited my hair into four sides. I stared at the wall of the corridor, in our face-me-I-face-you building, mulling over what she said.
Aunty Tope was 6 years older than me, and I saw her as a mentor, an older person I could look up to. I practically hung on her every word. I could not help but believe her. My 7 year old mind began to ponder her words. I did not know what I wanted to be in future, but I definitely knew I didn’t want to be a lawyer or a doctor or an engineer. I liked the idea of everyone seeing me on television. I liked the faces I saw on TV—People looking beautiful, flawless and full of smiles. Plus it seemed cool to drink tea at work.
“Not only that, they eat barbeque after every show,” Aunty Tope continued. My eyes widened. In my mind, I screamed “I want!” Newscasters are enjoying o, I thought to myself. After she finished matting my hair, I shouted thank you as I ran into our house, her laughter echoing behind me. I switched on the TV and scanned the different channels, until I saw one that had an elegantly dressed lady reading the headlines. In less than two minutes, she said they had to go on a commercial break, “we will be right back.” An advert on detergent started to run. I knew the lady had to be drinking tea at that point.
I automatically fell in love with the profession. I spent my remaining years in primary school practicing how to read the news with any newspaper I could lay my hands on. On some days, my mum would scream “Kevwe! Where is the paper?” I had to know where a missing paper was.
Secondary school was bliss. I aced my art subjects, represented my class in debates, I went on spelling B competitions. All these, with the clear dream of being a Newscaster—not blinking even for a bit. Everything flowed perfectly when I gained admission into the University to study Mass Communication. My first year was great. My second year was tough. All this while, I did not wonder if I was on the wrong path – but there was a longing for something more. I wanted more but I didn’t know what more was or meant. Not until my internship with a renowned television station in Lagos did I start to go through a mental shift. It dawned on me I wanted to be more than a TV face.
By the time I was graduating from the University, I already figured out what more meant. I wanted to work building lasting positive images for organizations. I wanted to be a Brand Manager; a media consultant; I wanted to be a Public Relations specialist. Most importantly, I wanted to be the sense behind great ideas.
My dream scope had widened. Just as I got excited the day Aunty Tope told me about newscasters, I felt the same resurgence go through me. I had discovered my real dream. I must have wondered at some point if I was trying to fulfill someone else’s childhood fantasies. This time, I was sure I was walking in my own vision.
I realized I had to make notes. I started writing down what I wanted to achieve in a space of 5 years, what I wanted to be in 10 years time. I started running with that vision. I got dejected many times, I was rejected by even the corporate outfits I held in awe (and had wished would help sustain my enthusiasm). I was challenged at every point. I even had doubts, almost fell out, I thought at some points, I would have to switch career paths to suit what is available. Sometimes, I didn’t think I could be all of that, but did I dare give up?
It’s been 25 years since I sat between Aunty Tope’s legs, now I own a major consultancy firm in the country; I head the Public Relations department of a multinational organization and in six month’s time, my TV show on Teen Issues will hit the airwave – helping teenagers discover self and also helping parents understand and relate with their teen kids better.
My story on the path of success will not be complete without mentioning Aunty Tope. Right now, she is a top manager in an aviation company. Aunty Tope may not have directly influenced my decisions but her story about newscasters did set me straight on my career path. We all have that one person that has jokingly said something, given a casual advice, unassumingly teased about a point we needed to hear. And these words (not just sound bytes), have propelled us for a better life, a profound decision, a better attitude. Consequently, we realize how big, a deal, it is—turning the cause of events in our lives (for good).
In a nutshell, whatever we do to people, whatever we say to them, how we say it, when we say it, have consequence; maybe not today but someday, there will be results. Just like sowing seeds.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Frizzantine