Hey everyone, i need to introduce you to someone who i think is absolutely inspiring, he has a good heart and a right spirit. His atitude toward working under someone and his personal story of overcoming life’s challenges show that having a functional relationship with God can bring you into the life you want. He will be a good influence on you,that i promise. He has gone from being a college drop out and to a corporate sell out... meet SteveHARRIS!
Omonaikee: I read somewhere where you said you didn’t have a clue about what you wanted to do till you were 27, and now some years later you’re an accomplished speaker, consultant, author, husband, father, radio host, Naija Diamond,UN/YFP Young Ambassador For Peace, CEO e.t.c. So from that point what was the defining moment that set you on the path of being a corporate sell-out?
SteveHARRIS: Thanks Nikita, I never had a clue that I’d be privileged to do what I do today or have the sort of impact on the lives of people that I’m blessed to have. I guess once I got kicked out of school, I determined to prove to myself that I wasn’t the dropout my Alma Mater made me out to be. I guess you could say the Dropout part of me motivates the “sellout” part of me. I’m also driven by my personal mantra “it’s not what you don’t have that limits you, but what you have and don’t know how to use”!
Omonaikee: You wouldn’t describe yourself as the typical college dropout we think of - the one who dropped out because they couldn’t afford tuition or whose parents weren’t supportive, or was that you?
SteveHARRIS: Nah, that wasn’t me. I’m humbled that my parents did their best to provide for us. I guess I wasn’t cut out for my course of study (Industrial Mathematics). But don’t forget that I dropped out of school twice (from UniBen and Madonna University!) Go get the book for details! But I would say that I had something in common with most people who may experiencing a “dropout experience” (in school, career, finances etc), and that’s low self-esteem.
Omonaikee: What type of a college dropout were you? What was happening in your life at that time that led you to that place?
SteveHARRIS: Well, I’ve always considered myself as a pretty smart guy, but I guess it was just a case of putting a square peg in a round hole, and then add to that, victimization from lecturers, then you have a recipe for disaster! Lol!
Harris identifies Fela Durotoye as a key contributor in his process. He says every experience he had with Fela was such that he would treasure forever, he talks about his mentor and former employer here...
Omonaikee: In John Maxwell’s book, every one communicates but few connect, his writer Charlie Wetzel writes a chapter about his experiences with John, in your book you devote an entire chapter to your experiences with Fela Durotoye, help us understand why it was important for you to write that chapter.
SteveHARRIS: For me, it was imperative that I write about FD, as God used him as a signpost, if you will; to point me in the direction of my purpose. He took a chance on me, built up my confidence and inspired me to believe in myself. I consider him to be a mentor, teacher and father figure.
Omonaikee: You’ve had a very close relationship with Fela, one which you would refer to your work as “service” and working for him as “serving”, why did you see what we would call a work relationship that way or in those terms?
SteveHARRIS: Well, as you know, FD and I have a multi-faceted relationship. Too many young people today take liberties with their mentors by being “familiar” where they lose access to the mentor’s grace. Even Elisha was described in Scripture as the one who “poured water on the hands of Elijah” and Joshua was described as the “servant of Moses”. Now, I’m not saying that you should act as a servant, all I’m saying is true and faithful service is first, a matter of the heart.
Omonaikee: Fela Durotoye worked with Folusho Philips at Philips consulting them moved on to set up Visible Impact consulting with his blessing, you’ve also worked with Fela Durotoye and have gone on to set up EdgeEcution, what is your perspective on working for other people, learning the business and leaving well?
SteveHARRIS: I think it’s very important. Though I need to clarify that I had absolutely no intention of starting my own business while working with Visible Impact. As far as I knew, my assignment was to build the organisation and serve FD, and in doing that faithfully, my dreams would naturally come true. I was super happy being there and it could have only taken a divine summons from God to pry me away from FD and the Visible Impact family. But having said that, I believe that motive is important. Most people want to come and “learn” from you, but in reality, they want to take from you and not to give to you. There’s only so much you can get that way. Sure you can get the “how to”, but you’ll never get the spirit behind it and that’s actually what creates everything else. I believe that too many young people are in a hurry to “hammer” if I may use the term. I see so many of them say to me, “I’m the CEO of This, That and The Other” and unfortunately, they seem to be going nowhere fast. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being entrepreneurial, the challenge is “have you built a track record?”, “to whom have you submitted yourself to?”, “where are your mentors”. It’s sad to know that most young people don’t want to pay the price of sacrifice. You can’t be celebrated without sacrifice.
Harris also has a lot to say about the role God has played in his life...
Omonaikee: You started and completed this book in three months, was this biography painful to write, what emotions played out as you wrote from chapter to chapter?
SteveHARRIS: I must admit, it was a bit of a tear jerker for me, since I had to unearth previously repressed memories and feelings. But you know what? Writing proved pretty therapeutic for me (had to be my own Dr. Phil). But writing made me appreciate all what God has done for me when I look back over the last 6 years, I can see the hand of the Lord, leading and guiding me when I thought all hope was lost.
Omonaikee: Your book reveals your journey of self discovery that was kick started by academic failure, now you’ve come full circle from college drop out to corporate sell out, from dropping out of University to giving talks at the same school, from your peers getting ahead to turning to you for business cutting edge, what has that process from there to here changed about your view of God?
SteveHARRIS: All I can say is “God has a sense of humour”. He uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise” or more verbosely put, “He incorporates the mundane to discombobulate the cerebral”. I’m deeply thankful that He’s turned my “mess” into my “message”. Don’t ask God for a testimony if you’re not ready to face the “test”! God is faithful. I lost hope several times, backslid plenty, took up vices, but He never let me go. I owe Him everything!
Omonaikee: Most college graduates aren’t corporate sellouts, so obviously it’s not the degree, can you share what you think IT is?
SteveHARRIS: For me, it’s just pure grace from God. But coupled with that, I guess I’ve discovered my assignment and I intend to be the best at it as I can.
Harris has had two lives, in one of them he went through a dark time where he didn’t see the possibility of the today he has now, if i ask him what he would say to someone who feels that way about their future today and how they can turn things around, i can almost hear him say:
“IT’S NOT WHAT YOU DONT HAVE THAT LIMITS YOU, ITS WHAT YOU HAVE BUT DONT KNOW HOW TO USE . We should be more introspective and stop complaining about what we don’t have, and start focusing on what we do have, no matter how small we perceive it to be”- SteveHARRIS