If we all could turn back the hand of time, apart from choosing to be better humans, it is very certain that one phrase would be on everyone’s lips and that is finding purpose on time. In yoruba, purpose is interpreted as ayanmo–that which we all, according to Gemini Yusuf Balogun in his poem Ori, search for when the race called life begins. Some get missing, maybe lost on the road in its search. Some get stranded, some get obstructed, some find it and lose it when influenced by things that don’t exist while some even die without finding it.
For those who already found it, do you remember what it felt like when you did and how much relief that brought along? Do you remember how badly you wished you found it earlier? That’s exactly how it all went for Shittu Idowu Opeyemi, the convener of Get It Right With Shittu (GIRWS), a platform for the youth and everyone at large. As a young man who is so fortunate to find purpose quite early, he has a burning passion, which some may feel is quite burdensome, to help youth his age do the same for the essence of maximizing their potentials which would be the driver of the much desired change in our environments, our nation Nigeria and the world in general. In thisinterview with Yamilenu Bamgboye, he reveals how he found purpose, his relationship with girls and why he feels everyone has greatness in them.
What birthed the GIRWS idea?
Well, Get It Right With Shittu (GIRWS) actually started with me knowing my ability to motivate people and inspire them. That occurred to me while I was in secondary school. I loved to talk to people, even when we were having a particular discussion, I would find myself changing the discussion and trying to motivate them. Along the line, I realized it was in my DNA, that’s how GIRWS started. Eventually, when people come to me with their wrongs, I set it right for them. So, the platform is aimed at helping the young people of this generation reach their potentials, become leaders and achievers, live beautifully and abundantly. And I do this through heart-centred motivation and inspirational mentorship.
How practically do you do this motivation?
Some people will say the wealthiest place on earth is the grave yard which is true because there, you’ll see people with innovations that never saw the light of the day. People with skills and ideas that did not manifest or set in motion. I help people discover themselves. It is possible to take someone on a journey within themselves to places they can’t go by themselves that’s how I eventually do it. There are things people don’t know about themselves, their capabilities. Some don’t even know they have greatness in them so, I tell them they do and that’s my story, you have greatness in you and I help you to unveil it. That’s how I help them set their wrongs right.
How has the journey been so far?
Well, I feel achieved so far based on my effort and the people that have benefited from my mentorship and coaching. So, it’s growing anyway, it’s growing. We’re improving and it has kept me on my toes because me being a solution provider, I am meant to be an embodiment of knowledge to provide solutions or help people with their problems. So, it’s been impactful to me as well as a person and it’s been giving me a lot of exposure (taking me to certain places) so far.
Do you hope to go into human resource management as time goes on?
Not at all. Though I’m trying to do something that somehow goes in that line. When I was in the polytechnic, I studied Business Administration and Management but now, when I started the GIRWS, I intended doing a professional course that deals with human relations so, that’s what got me studying Industrial Relations and Personnel Management (IRPM) at Lagos State University.
Get It Right With Shittu (GIRWS) seems to be an online platform. Is that what you intend it to be?
Eeerr… well, it is not just an online platform, I’m only running the online platform because I believe this is what I’m called for, I believe this is what I’m made for and I know the success of many people is anchored on my shoulders and that’s why I have to reach them. I’m only using the social media as an amplified voice to get through to my audience but it’s beyond the social media platform. I have plans probably by next year to go to various secondary schools within and outside Lagos and have programmes with them to help them set their priorities right. It’s not just about getting it right, it’s about getting it right on time. So, I’m really planning on working with secondary school students to help them get their missions here on earth, inspire them and as well help them unveil their capabilities and the greatness in them. That’s the platform I’m currently working on and I see it as a means of expanding my reach, my Get It Right With Shittu (GIRWS).
Do you have mentors?
Mentors…yeah. I have mentors but I would rather say I have role models. A mentor is someone who you meet to discuss issues of life. He tends to encourage you and then tutor you on how to do things but a role model could be someone who you choose to follow his lifestyle but might not meet in person. Though I have a mentor, two actually: my elder brother and a barrister.
Just two mentors, why is that?
Based on what I do, it’s only those who can relate with what I do and fit into the picture that can mentor me because I can’t go to someone who doesn’t understand what I do or understand how to change people’s lives. It’s only those who have the understanding of what I do, who are in the line, see the big picture and even see the need for it. Those are the people I can talk to.
How would you describe the acceptance of GIRWS so far?
Well, the acceptance has been quite encouraging. I think what matters most is one’s message…what you have to offer. As time goes on, of course I would get paid for this. It’s just a chronological arrangement. But I believe the acceptance has been okay, it’s been fair enough because the message makes the difference, you understand? The message is the real deal, it makes the difference and it’s brought me this far.
You mean the message of transformation and self-discovery?
What practical ways do you employ in promoting this GIRWS brand?
People do say first impression lasts longer. The first thing I do is to look for something that is a challenge to them in their career, their skills or anything that catches their fancy. I try to enlighten them on it, motivate them on those challenging areas then they see the need for it. I also promote myself on the social media because I have a large audience right there. Hopefully soon, I’ll be having a radio programme which would be another medium to reach another section of people. So, in January 2018, I’ll be starting with LASU Radio 95.7 fm.
From the way you sound, would it be out of place to call you a preacher?
I would not call myself a preacher, I would say I’m a teacher.The difference in both is the spirituality attached to one. Some people will say I’m a preacher…well, I think I’m blessed though. The difference between me preaching and me motivating is that preaching is Biblical or religious. We talk about Biblical stories, Jesus Christ and the rest but motivation is just eerr… bringing people out of their mindsets–the mindsets of it’s- not-possible, the mindsets of I-can’t-do-this and all that. So, it’s basically about career and success in life in general.
So, do you do one-on-one coaching?
Well, it depends. Next year January, for instance, we’re organizing an orientation for freshers in my department and I’ll be part of the crew or speakers that will be addressing them. Then, I’ll be having private conversations with some of my course mates who have been seeing my posts. They eventually come to me themselves to talk about my posts, what I do and some enlightenment on it. And each time they do, I always make sure they go home with one word, something they can always remember me for.
How do you get the quotes: do you get them from other speakers and authors or they are 100% your creations?
Like I said earlier, I believe it’s in my DNA. Most of the inspirational quotes I dish out come to me naturally, I believe it’s a gift from God. Secondly,what has been helping me is because I listen to tapes of Anthony Robbins and Eric Thomas. Those are my role models. Their messages inspire me and broaden my knowledge. And that helps my inspiration because when my mind is broad, there is an easy flow of ideas, of insights just like that. So, that’s how I get my quotes. I study too. I read a lot of motivational books, inspirational books, transformational books that’s just it.
So, let’s talk about girls. What’s up with you and girls?
(Laughs)…I don’t have anything to do with girls presently. As a matter of fact, for about a year now, I’ve not had any thing to do with any girl even though I used to. I don’t have anyone coming around for now.
Are saying your exposure or fame, as it were, isn’t attracting any girl to you?
Not really…I would just say that I have been able to draw a big line between my career and my social life. I used to have that problem because I had not discovered myself, what I was made for but the moment I knew I was going to be a mentor, a life coach that would help people discover their true identities and the big picture, there was a clear cut demarcation between both. Another thing is that I think I’m very futuristic. I analyze my needs before I jump into anything. It’s not wrong for me to have a girlfriend but I analyze it and think of what to benefit from it then I see it makes no much sense. So, for now, I intend to be without one because the one I had in the past, there was no plus. So, I just focus on my pursuit and when that time comes, it’ll work well.
What about friends?
Well, I don’t have friends like that, I don’t keep many friends. I think it’s got to do with my growing up. I grew up in an environment where my siblings and I were not allowed to really mix with kids our age(s). So, I just have two: one in church, one in school and we all are busy. We don’t really have too much time to talk about frivolities but we are close.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
First of all, let me say the first motivation for my starting the GIRWS was the vision I saw on saw on a fateful day. It wasn’t a picture I created for myself. I would rather say the Holy Spirit revealed it. While in school, I was in my room that had nothing except a wrapper that I spread on the floor and I was listening to a motivational tape then this big picture came. It was me seeing myself in the midst of a large crowd…different race, different people from Africa, Asia and other parts of the world and they were all screaming, shouting and I saw myself on the podium and they were all shouting, waiting to hear from me. And that is my aim. It’s when I get there that I would say I have achieved. That’s what birthed this inspirational stuff. It was before I even started stirring the gift. So,in the next few years, I see myself becoming a national icon.