He felt like calling it quits. He was tired of not getting results in his photography career and life in recent years. He called a friend who suggested I was the perfect person to reach out for inspiration because I had been where he is. If only he knows that I’m not 100% out of that valley yet. He eventually made the call that will turn out to be the most inspiring 26 minutes he spent conversing with a human being this year.

His first 5 mins was used to pour out his heart and explain to me the symptoms he had been experiencing in his life in recent months. With each symptom he coughed out, I could almost predict the ailment. I asked him if he wanted to hear what I consider the honest truth. I always asked them if they really want my opinion especially if they were not the ones that paid for the consultation session. With tears almost streaming down his eyes, I could hear it in his throat that he wouldn’t have it any other way.

I asked him how old he was. I asked him if he was married and if he had any kids. How long has he been married. Is he paying rent where he stays. I gave him the number “3” and asked him how many books outside the spiritual books he had read this year. Do they have enough to eat at home daily. The answers helped me craft a personalized prescription for his ailments.

He’s in his early 40s. Married with 1 kid who isn’t up to 3 years old. Living in a house that was gifted to him by his parents. He has read less than 1 book this year (I gave him the number 3 because I guessed he had not read up to 3 books based on the systoms he shared). And they make just enough to eat at home daily. Interesting answers I thought.

I told him he should not be too sad. I’m careful not to use the word “depressed” when talking with people that may seem depressed as the word may create a more depressing atmosphere in an already depressed soul. I told him he has many things to be grateful for and that he should hear me out. I explained to him that he should first be grateful that there’s no landlord breathing over his neck to pay rent for an apartment. No landlord will probably ever disturb him for rent again. I told him that rent payment has triggered the collapse of many homes. I told him to be thankful that he makes enough for his family to eat daily. Many don’t even know where their next breakfast will come from. I explained that since his marriage is young, they can still build strategic foundations that will help them through future challenges. Within a few minutes he could see the rainbow amidst his gloomy clouds.

Once I noticed he was better, I asked him why has he not been attending seminars and workshops to network strategically with leaders in the industry. He said he’s been busy. I laughed in Ijaw language. I explained that no business should make him prioritize what will elevate him in life and career over attending such events. If it’s a photoshoot he has, he can negotiate with the client and move it by a day or two.

He forgot he attended one photography conference recently and eventually mentioned it to me. According to him, he even had a one on one conversation with one of the speakers of the conference. I told him that almost everyone that came for that conference had a one on one 2 minutes talk with that speaker and that his 2 minute session probably did not leave a lasting impression to start a mentor-me tee relationship. He was ready to argue with me on that point, so I explained with another point. I told him I didn’t attend that particular conference but 2 weeks later I sent an sms to the same photographer he had a 2 minute session with. It was his birthday and I prayed for him and wished him God’s wisdom and grace in the years ahead. Truth is that I’ve not talked to this same photographer boss in months and that was the second sms I would send him after congratulating him on the success of the conference he just pulled off. I then asked my guy on the phone who our mutual photographer boss is most likely to remember in the future. It was me. Well, ofcourse I could be wrong, what do I know sef.

I explained to him the importance of being deliberate & strategic about building the right type of relationships. I explained to him that he should stop comparing his works with the likes of some of the bosses in the industry especially since he has failed to invest in the non-technical part of their craft that has gotten them to where they are. If you compare your pictures with Kelechi Amadi-Obi’s pictures, do you offer your clients the same welcoming cartoon-character ear-to-ear smile that Kelechi welcomes his clients with. Or do you treat your clients like Kings and Queens the way Ty Bello treats her clients? Yet you only look at the final image and boast that you can produce the same. Like my mother will say “Young man, it’s not done, it’s not done.”

I concluded by telling him to read more books because books has a way of inspiring anyone to either do evil or good. Ask Adolf Hitler whose consumption of some books while in prison eventually made him responsible for the death of over 50 million people. I told him to learn to network with the right leaders in the industry. I told him to be deliberate about the music he listens to because even our Heavenly FATHER took music so seriously that he ensured that a third of his heavenly messengers were in the music department. I told him to become more humble and learn from people who are way younger than him and he’ll likely grow faster. I told him to be more grateful and should stop giving himself unrealistic expectations during this depressing, sorry, sad season he’s facing. I’m sure he’ll come around and things will be better. I think he’ll take my advice.

He sent me a heartfelt thank you message a day later and I was glad my 25-kobo advice helped him. It’s been 16 days since we last spoke and I just thought of writing the session report like I was taught to do at the Counseling school I trained at (ADI Counseling school). 1 soul’s has been saved. Hopefully more will be saved that read this.

Seun Akisanmi, If I didn’t believe in the brighter future you have, I would not have written this as a reminder to you that though you go through the valley of the shadow of death, He will neither leave you nor forsake you…….

Good morning great one. I celebrate you