Lanre Olusola – On Starting All Over Again
By Jemi Ekunkunbor
Lanre Olusola, fondly referred to as The Catalyst, is a Life, Mind and behavioral change Coach. The University of Lagos trained Engineer, works with individuals and organizations to transition from where they are to where they desire to be. But many are shackled and tied to their past that picking themselves up again is almost near impossible.
The alumnus of the Harvard Business School, Boston Massachusetts USA, through the Olusola Lanre Coaching Academy (OLCA), offers a wide range of programs and services from psychology, to therapy, and has imparted his wide range of clientele which include individuals, private companies and government with problem solving skills.
When Allure called at his Lekki office last week, we met a decent gentleman who in this encounter, shares with us how Nigerians can renew their minds, set goals and have a fresh start for their lives in this brand new year.
Many people do not really understand what your work entails. What does a life Coach do?
A coach is the one that moves you from where you are to where you deserve, desire and are designed to be. He sits with you to help you create the future of your dreams, and make that journey faster than you can by yourself. He helps you create foresight and insight so that you are able to get understanding and knowledge of yourself and of your environment and also, identifies the barriers, road blocks and the things that may stop you. The coach also helps to create strategies to overcome them.
At what point in life do you tell yourself that you need a coach?
I guess at the point of realisation and awareness. You need to be aware and you need to be willing. If someone is unaware and is willing, what a coach does is to create that awareness because there is willingness. If there is someone that is aware and unwilling, you can’t help him or her. So, everyone at some point in life, requires motivation and inspiration because we all have our challenges. One of the greatest challenges that we have is ignorance: people are ignorant about themselves, their influences, past, present and future; and their interactions with their environment. Your environment in turn, influences behaviour; behaviour influences your capabilities, your beliefs and values. And so, as a coach, I help you create awareness about these values and how all of these dynamics play in your life, so that you can be the captain of your ship.
Psychologists say environment makes a man. How would you define Nigeria as an environment and how does it affect the behavioural patterns especially as it relates to the temperament of people?
The truth of the matter is that the entity called Nigeria is not a geographical space, it is about we the people. So it is not absolute that you find people that are aggressive only. In Nigeria, you find people that are happy, people that are joyful and people that are peaceful. It is the interactions between people, things, and how people interpret those interactions that affect others and provoke reactions. So Nigeria is not different from other people. Go to South Africa, you’d find challenges and opportunities, go to the USA, you’d find the same thing. There is nowhere that you’d find people and not find the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s just a function of interactions, the interpretation and the way we choose to respond to it. You cannot continue to blame Nigeria or people for where you are. You should be able to sit down with an expert, a coach or a psychologist to redesign your life and to create the future of your dreams.
When the Europeans come to Nigeria, they make money. When the Americans come, they make money. Indians come and make money, the Chinese come the same thing. So it’s not Nigeria, it is Nigerians. Our greatest problem is in our core values; religion, tradition and culture. When we step out of the shores of this country, we excel in different fields of endeavour because we go out and change our mind-set; and that with that change of mind-set, attitude and behaviour, and identity and beliefs, everything about us change. So, all these blaming of Nigeria and the environment should stop. Wealth isn’t gotten; it is deliberately created over time.
If the future can be created like you said, what role does the supernatural play?
I like this question but let’s break it down. Do you know that every man is a spiritual being having a human experience on earth? A lot of us invest in the physical to the detriment of our souls. Your power source is a combination of your mind and soul and you’ve got to invest in it. Spirituality is not about religion. Everybody that was created, has a deposit of God in him or her whether you are a God hater, armed robber or a child of God. When you develop a relationship with that side of you, that is when the essence of your spirit connects with God; and that is when you become whole. It’s not about religion because religion is about man’s way to try and reach God. Every human being is born the same way, dies the same way. When we die, our spirit and our soul depart from our body. So you find that entry and exit are the same. Everyone that was dispatched on earth was created for a purpose and you must find that purpose because if you don’t, then it means the person has failed in his or her assignment. God has never failed and it’s not going to happen now.
Do we really find this predetermined destiny?
Yes, everybody does find destiny or destiny finds you. During your existence here on earth, if your destiny for instance is Oshogbo, you can decide that you want to go in a car, a helicopter, okada or to walk there. The choices that you make, and the plans that you put in place, will determine how you get to your destination.
The story I like to talk about is that of Jonah in the bible. He had an assignment to go deliver a message in Nineveh but refused. He got on a boat to escape and God orchestrated circumstances and things began to happen. The people threw him into the water and the whale swallowed him and delivered him by the sea shore of his destination in exactly three days. Now you can decide how you get there but you will get there and deliver the message.
There are other stories like that in the bible. Daniel, Shedrach, Meshack and Abednego, sat in their fathers house and a king came to kidnap them so that they can enter their destiny. Daniel served four Kings back to back. He fulfilled his mandate. He didn’t plan for it, God orchestrated it.
Another case in hand is Joseph. Joseph slept and had a dream which he shared with his father and brothers. They thought they were stopping the dream. But they propelled him into his destiny when they sold him into slavery. Guess what, the same man serving Potiphar, bought him over and took him to Potiphar’s house. In no time, he found himself put in prison where kings servants are put. He interpreted their dreams and asked them not to forget him but they did, so that he can enter his destiny at the appointed time. But when the king had a dream, nobody else could interpret it and that servant that forgot him, at the appointed time, remembered that there is a man who can interpret dreams and Joseph’s destiny was activated. But his destiny was to save the Jews. So whether you know Gods plan or not, the thing is to fulfil that destiny. And get satisfaction, peace and fulfilment from it.
From the stories that you have told, would you say Nigeria is on the path to fulfilling destiny considering all that we have gone through?
Just the way every human being is born with a purpose, every nation is also born with a purpose. And without a shadow of doubt, Nigeria has a purpose and it will fulfil that purpose at the appointed time no matter what is orchestrated towards us. The Jews were held in captivity for 400 years so that they can come and learn. In those days, Egypt was the citadel of knowledge and technology. We were like Japan or America today. The Jews had to come do apprenticeship. They were supposed to get freedom after 400 years abut they didn’t learn everything. They had to do another 30 years. And when they were leaving, they took the manuscript and went into the promised land. But check this out. The journey was supposed to take 40 days but it took 40 years because of the mindset of the people. All who had the slave mentality died in the wilderness. God had to wipe them out so that only the people with the right mindset and attitude entered the promise land. If they had entered the promised land in that slave and lack mentality, they would have destroyed the people. The children of the Jews who died in the wilderness, as well as Caleb and Joshua were the only ones who entered the promise land. The others died in the wilderness. So Nigeria is still perambulating but we are in the forefront of Gods agenda and we will prevail as a nation. Until we align with God’s vision for us, we would continue to perambulate.
Nigerians have been battered, plundered and wounded and like the Jews of old, it affects their mind and the way they think. How can the minds of Nigerians be renewed?
The bible says I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health even as your soul prospereth. You cannot prosper physically if your soul is not prospering. Your mind is the seat of your intellect, your will and your emotions. It is the gateway to prosperity, success and positivity. That’s where the power is. Because it is invisible, people do not understand the dynamics. It is ignorance Hosea says that destroys the people. Our problem is ignorance. so the first thing that we need is light. In Genesis chapter one, God couldn’t do anything in all his might, until he created light. So we need illumination as a country. When you shine that light in your mind, darkness will not comprehend it, contend with it or relate with it. Light is knowledge, it is insight, it is also wisdom. People have said that knowledge is power, it is not true. It is knowledge that is understood and appropriately utilised at the right time that is power. So when that light comes, it will create a vision, with a vision you move away from your past, you set your goals, long, medium and short term. You check your realities and generate options and you create a way forward. You can change your plans along the way if there is a road block.
Now, what is it that you don’t want? Turn away and focus on the things you want. A lot of times, people are double minded and wheel between their past and pain and their future and pleasure.
Does getting knowledge and wisdom refer to getting education?
It depends on who and where you are and, what problems you’ve identified that you need to solve. Education can be formal or informal. The bill Gates of this world didn’t have a formal education. They fell out of university to develop their purpose. You also have people like Steve Jobs. They are not illiterates; they had insight and deep knowledge to create solutions to problems. So would you rather go to school and become a mediocre than be a Bill Gates? So find your own pathway to destiny because our destinies are different.
To those who have had a difficult 2016, orchestrated by recession, how do they begin all over again?
Recession simply means taking back what is yours. But the general interpretation is that things are tough, things are difficult and as a man thinks in his heart so is he. So if you believe there is lack, there will be lack for you. What happens in recession is that money moves from one section of the economy to another. Remember I said you need a coach to help you develop foresight. Without foresight, you can’t plan. And that’s where a lot of people were caught. Have you ever seen a special vehicle that moves money from here to hell or heaven? Money does not leave the earth. Money changes hands. But a lot of people are too rigid. I am a lawyer, a litigator, the sector has moved to commercial law, you are still there. Recession will hit you hard. You have to be able to anticipate the move, position yourself for where the move is going. A lot of people wait for years. Things have moved before they wake up to the reality of moving. But a lot of people don’t move at all. The whole concept of difficulty is centred around the mindset. You are thinking that things are tough. Historically, more millionaires and Billionaire’s are made in the time of recession. Why can’t that be your story?
So be ready and position yourself for that change. Leave the past behind. A lot of people are shackled and handcuffed to their past, they need to free themselves and the people that they are holding back.
Does this apply to the losses like that of spouse, child or loved one?
Grief requires a cycle and so you must let people grieve because it’s part of the healing process. Let them cry, wail etc. There are different stages of grieving and people need to be informed of what they need to do, what not to do, what to do around someone who is grieving and what not to do and, to allow people to go through the process. The body is intelligent enough to take someone through that process. However, when someone is stuck in one stage of grieving, then you need to get him or her professional help. But such a person needs empathy, support and compassion. We cannot all remain on earth. But one thing we must understand is relating purpose with death. Once you finish your purpose, you will not stay one day longer, you will be gone. Some people’s purpose may span 90 years, some one day, some a moment.
John the Baptist’s purpose was to point Christ out to the people. Once he did, they beheaded him. One thing you should know is that God is really and truly not tripped about a particular kind of death. He doesn’t see death as anything else but the calling of the soul from the body. And no matter how you die, loved ones can’t accept it.
So how should we live in this New Year?
This New Year, 2017 must be a year that is deliberately purposefully lived. So I’m calling and challenging our leaders and individuals, just don’t exist, live your life to the fullest. Identify the duration you are supposed to be here for and plan your exit. Until you plan your exit you will not live sacrificial and purposeful life. How you die is not in your hands. At the end of the day, a good name is better than silver and gold. You can only build a good name when you leave a legacy. Nigerians must learn that one day you are going to die, Plan your end properly, know how much time you have left and plan your exit. One of our problems is that we think we are not going to die. Impunity is our greatest problem.
We are about to launch an application and work book to help you plan your life and set goals for short, medium and long term. The way you lay your bed is the way you will lie on it.