I’d say the ages 16 to 20 were my furnace. When I was 17, I was mentored by a female lecturer for about two years. Up until her, I had pretty much lived life on my own terms. I was very entitled at that age, spoiled even, so it was weird to have someone inspire fear in me. One phone call from her and I’d do a mental checklist of my day to be sure I hadn’t stepped out of line. She made me a better student and person. And the work I put into passing her course is the hardest I worked all through University. You see, she expected you to be better and was unwilling to accept anything less. She taught me discipline and focus. She taught me to be independent.
Think of how a sword is forged, fire and pressure, over and over again. And when it is done, you have a tool that can end a life, if in expert hands. I have learned to embrace fire and pressure as I know for a fact that I cannot be broken. Bent, bruised and battered, yes, but never broken. I know this because for two years of my life, fire became my best friend. I rose to the challenge and I surprised myself. I still surprise myself. I could go through life apologizing for who I have become, but last night i came to some conclusions. I am proud of who I am, my drive and doggedness are integral to my process, as are the demands of excellence I place on myself and the people I care about.
In my 25 years I’ve gone through a sea of people and I’ve learned a few things. Many people are scared of fire and others are unwillingly to test their limits. I’ve also discovered that a lot of people want to live life on red ribbons and soft clouds. Unfortunately for these people, the only way to test the power of steel is to try to break it. There is a saying that when your back is against the wall, and there is nowhere else to go, you are forced to face your attacker. So it confuses me when people say others are too hard on them, this should never come up as you should be the one demanding more from yourself.
I’ve never understood how we can be content with good, when great is just a few steps away. Yesterday a popular OAP, Chaz B passed away. The first time I heard about him was from my mum and from that point on I made it a duty to try to listen to his show. Every time I listened, I was even more impressed by the man and the lives he touched. In my book Chaz B lived a great life. He touched hundreds, maybe even thousands and that is the type of life I aspire to. It is all well and good to simply show up, but imagine a legacy that never ends even when your body is done living.
Stop waiting or expecting to be cuddled, do what is required to get to where you need to be. I can say to a lad I mentor, “Please do a better air check”, but I’d rather say “That sucked, Peter I expect more”. The fact is that at the end of the day, only one person will get the fame and fortune from being Nigeria’s best radio presenter. Getting better is not a favour to Isioma, it’s a duty you owe yourself. My way is tough and gruff but there is no gun to your head. My way works, as do others, so go ahead and pick your poison.
The important lesson is that you learn to work longer, harder and smarter. When you achieve a goal, congratulate yourself and then set a higher and more difficult one. Surround yourself with people who demand the best from you, otherwise praise singers will be the death of you. And so what if you’re naturally gifted? Congratulations you have something in common with millions of people. Besides if talent was the deciding factor, Michael Jackson would not be in a class of his own.
I want to leave a legacy, what do you want to do?