Kola Olaosebikan is the Author of a New York Times bestseller endorsed book, Speaker and Social Entrepreneur who has an aim to help young adults make a difference in the world.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
What does Beta Motivation mean?
The word “beta” usually means something that is in progress. Something that is good enough to share, but is still evolving. The word “motivation” represents my desire to build something that makes a difference. Put together, Beta Motivation represents a constant evolution toward an eventual end of making a difference in the world.
You have been involved in a number of orphan care projects all over the world from Nigeria and Uganda to Haiti and Mexico – how has this been and what inspired you to get into this line of charity?
It’s quite interesting how it all happened and I tell the story in my book, ‘’Story Story’’ Without giving away any spoilers for those who will read the book later I can say that I never went to school or started my career thinking I wanted to help orphans. All I ever wanted was to get good grades in school, get a good job, and try not to piss God off. However, life clearly had a different plan for me and I’ve done my best to take each opportunity as it comes.
What lead your move from your consulting role to working full time on inspiring young adults?
I still do some consulting work in my spare time so I’m not 100% out of that industry. However, I was inspired to step away from consulting full time in order to explore my passion for making a difference because I am unusually aware of two things. 1) we only get one shot at life 2) in the end, we’ll all give account for our lives – if not to a higher power, then to ourselves and our loved ones. I just want to live my life in alignment with my values and do the best I can with everything I’ve been given.
How do you balance your consulting work and your orphan care projects?
Thankfully, it’s not very difficult for me because I have a really good sense of what I can handle and I have no problem with saying no (laughs). I have my goals in front of me and I plan my week out every Sunday. If there’s a project that I simply don’t have the bandwidth to accommodate, I say sorry and I say no. Hopefully that doesn’t sound too harsh. I guess my point is that once I became clear on my goals, it became easier to see what I should be spending time on and what I should say no to.
What have been the challenges?
Mental blocks. When you first step out of a traditional career, it’s very difficult to answer the question “so what do you do?”. The reason is that, in the beginning, the answer to the question is very vague. You really don’t know what you’re doing – you only know why you’re doing it. And just when you think you have a great answer to the question, you find that you have to shift focus slightly to fully maximize your opportunities. What most people don’t realize is that the path to keying into one’s passion is not a straight line – hence the image on the cover of my book. It’s an evolving’ process that is difficult to explain to people. For me, this was a huge challenge because I’m all about communication and it killed me that I felt I couldn’t communicate well in the beginning. Eventually, I learned that this was just a mental block for me and I didn’t have to worry about it. The results always speak for themselves and over time, I got better at simply telling people that I am an Author and Video Blogger.
What has been your most memorable experience?
Traveling to India on my own. Visiting orphanages in Haiti. Getting to hold the very first print version of book in my two hands (even did a video about it lol – http://www.betamotivation.com/author-gets-story-story-make-a-difference-in-the-mail/). There are so many great memories that I have – I can’t possibly choose just one!
Your passion to make a difference led you to write your book ‘Story Story’ – can you tell us a little more about it?
Absolutely! ”Story Story” is a book that has now received almost 100 five star reviews on Amazon (www.amazon.com/dp/B00UJHP8D8/) and I continue to get emails from people that have loved it from all over the world.
The full title of the book is “Story Story: How I Found Ways to Make a Difference and Do Work I Love” and it was written not as a “how to guide” but as a companion for any young adult that has ever dreamed of doing work that is personally exciting and meaningful.
It is a catchy personal narrative of the events that had me quit my job, hop into orphan care work, start a career as a Speaker, explore ways to help orphans, plus of course all the juicy relationship drama that is part and parcel of being a 20 something year old.
How was the writing process and how has the book been received?
I struggled in the beginning because I was trying to write the book that I thought I was “supposed” to write. I thought I was “supposed” to write a how to guide that would position me as the “expert” on making a difference. What I found though was that the harder I tried to write this type of book, the more stuck I became.
It wasn’t until I released myself to write the book exactly the way it wanted to flow that I discovered a sense of nirvana if you may. It was effortless to wake up at 5am or 5:30 am and write till 9:30 am with only bathroom breaks in between. I loved every moment of writing ‘’Story Story’’ and based on the feedback I’ve received, it seems that the thousands of people that now have copies could feel the love as the read (laughs). That just makes my day.
What’s next in line for you and Beta Motivation?
I really want to give you a bullet point list of what the plan is but I’ve learned better. I never would have expected to be where I am today and so I won’t presume to know what tomorrow holds either. Suffice it to say that I’ve set my eyes on a few positive goals and God willing, the outcome will be good wherever life may take me and Beta Mo.
What advice would you give someone looking to start a charity or a non-governmental organisation?
My personal philosophy is that there are many wonderful non-profits in existence already and it might be worth partnering with those already in existence rather than start a new one. For instance, rather than start an orphan care charity, Beta Motivation currently donates 100% of all proceeds from the blog to the Global Orphan Project instead. That being said, if a person really wants to start a charity or NGO, I think my best advice would be to study the industry and understand the structure of how NGOs operate in the target country as well as the regulations surrounding their operation. It’s not the sexiest stuff but it’s very important.
Nigerians like yourself help create a positive image of the people in diaspora. How do you think Nigerians abroad can positively promote the country globally and do you think this is important?
I think it’s vitally important to promote the country in a positive light. And I think it’s easy to do this – just be a good person and do your best to be positive.
To take it one step further, I think it’s also vitally important that we also do the work to improve our country. This is a little bit tougher because it seems counter intuitive to want to make a difference in the country but not live in the country. I’m still grappling with this one personally but I’m sure that there are many ways that we diasporans can join in the work of rebuilding our country. We just have to find it.
How do you think a community like NNC can be involved in endorsing Nigeria’s positivity?
You’re already doing such a fantastic job with highlighting Nigerians who are throwing in their two cents and also working hard to connect us with one another. As you already know, what 1 person can do, 2 can probably do faster. When an organization like NNC steps up to the plate to connect people that already have good intentions, there’s a lot of magic that can happen. So just keep doing what you’re doing – you are serving a very important role in our community and you are very much appreciated.
Subscribe for weekly updates from Kola at www.betamotivation.com/join or follow on social media: