- Put a finger down if you’ve ever gone to an event and run after a speaker to take a selfie or have a conversation just to network?
- Put a finger down if you’ve ever been that person that was bewildered when people rally around a speaker like a swarm of bees, even if they said the most basic stuff?
- Put a finger down if you have entered a tech bro’s or tech sis’ dm and asked them to be your mentor.
- Put a finger down if at any point in your life, you wished you had a mentor?
- Put a finger down if you think mentorship is overrated?
If you score at least 1, this newsletter is for you.
Let’s talk about mentorship and the art of soap cutting.
According to the Consonance Woke Dictionary, ‘cut soap’ is defined like this:
Origin: Yoruba culture. It is a situation that occurs when exponential growth or success not understood by the public, is credited to the work of a good Babalawo that gave you charms in the form of an effective black soap.
Literal meaning: ‘Your success rate is too good to be ordinary. Please cut part of your Babalawo’s soap for us.’
Current social meaning: ‘I admire where you are in your life and career. Give me network, leverage, access, introduce me to your contacts. I need help in my career trajectory. Show me the way.’
SM meaning 2: Boss, you look successful. Please be my mentor.
Current Life Example: Elsa Majimbo’s soap.
Okay, let’s move away from the funny stuff.
The point today is simple: Mentorship is overrated.
People get so fixated on the idea of getting a mentor that they miss out on a lot of things.
To be honest, getting a mentor is not bad in itself.
But Babajide Duroshola of Safeboda once said this on a Twitter Space,
‘There are 3 people that are instrumental in your career growth: a mentor, a coach and a sponsor’
People often mistake these three for one another.
A mentor is just someone that has the experience and can guide you in your career path. Most preferably someone in your line of work or the same workplace.
A coach on the other hand takes you on, as a project. You’d have to pay them though.
They’ll train you, help you set and achieve career, personal or any type of growth. They may or may not be in your line of work. Your success is their business.
A sponsor is someone that is always speaking on your behalf behind closed doors.
Someone with influence and bargaining power. Someone who looks out for you and can always raise your name in important conversations or rooms, even when you’re not around.
All that sounds great, but what exactly is the problem with looking for a mentor to cut soap for you?
Festoffost, there are too many people asking them for soap. Your fave is also other people’s fave.
They get requests for mentorship nearly everyday of their lives. Soap go finish lol.
Let’s imagine these people are not people with actual lives, families, or jobs.
Let’s imagine for a second that their babalawo gave them Imperial Leather & they give this soap of mentorship to everyone that asks…
Omo, at the end of the day, na only the sticker go remain. Their babalawo sef go vex.
How can you navigate this?
Festofost, stop cold dming people you’ve not interacted with, to mentor you. Chances are, you’ll get aired. The people that do this are most likely the same ones that slide into dms with just ‘Hi’ Fix up abeg. Ask for specific advice when needed and guidance around a task you know they can help with.
Cold emails and sometimes cold dms do work, but they have a 95% failure rate according to the Consonance Club Bureau of Statistics.
There’s a higher chance of success if you’ve put in the work and built on your own.
Like SDC once said ‘Build on our own and the spotlight will find us.’
Secondly, you can try being a mentee from a distance. Follow your idol, engage their posts, read their work, buy them a coffee, attend their events and opt to pay for their materials. It’d be hard to forget you or say no to you, when you’ve shown that level of commitment or readiness.
If you want to approach a speaker or an event guest, go with a game plan.
Go with a unique or well thought out question. Trust me, they know their speech was great and they’re the best thing to happen to the tech community since sliced bread and Macbook pro.
They’ve heard those things about 1000 times. Trust me.
Lastly, don’t underestimate peer to peer mentorship. The best connections you’ll probably make in your life are those you make right now with your mates and people in your circle.
Bet on people, build relationships and see what happens.
Finally, before you ask people to cut soap for you, use the sanitiser on your hand first and follow us on Twitter
Also, forward this letter to anyone asking you to cut soap.
Updates from the Community:
- We got our domain name back: http://consonance.club/ but it currently redirects to our revue profile with all our past newsletters.
- We are re-starting Consonance stories, the first one will be coming up soon, stay tuned.