There is little doubt that the self-help field is a crowded marketplace. Yet every so often, a gem comes along that stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Dream and Achieve: Discover and Express Your Passion in Your Lifetime is one such book. Written by coach, international public speaker and author Kola Olutimehin, it is a comprehensive self-guide that will direct, or kick-start, your ambitions towards their ultimate realisation.
Sharing ‘Dream Driver’ Kola’s own success journey, it reveals all the tried-and-tested mental tools and strategies to transform yourself into a dream-achiever while providing a treasure trove of motivational wisdom from the great achievers of the past to further guide you on your path.
In my view, what makes the guide such a winner is that Kola Olutimehin is the definitive go-to self-help expert, and who has studied past masters in encyclopaedic detail to obtain every last nugget of transformational detail.
A UK resident of Nigerian descent, Kola is also a respected business consultant and corporate trainer who through his consultancy firm, MakeWay Global, regularly advises senior executives across a range of industries about the management of change and business efficiency.
He is, therefore, someone who doesn’t just talk the talk; he has earned his stripes the old-fashioned way, with forward planning, determination, and a tub full of elbow grease.
He is open about his own life story in the book, referring to it at length and in the context of the guidance under discussion in any given chapter, to help illustrate the key point that discipline and courage are essential components of success.
Taking the message further, he states that success is essential for fulfilment and he even goes so far as to credit his ongoing quest to realise his own dreams for surviving a car crash with only minor injuries.
Mediating on this, Kola explains how it is our dreams—be they to launch a new business, become an expert in any given field, write a book or whatever is truly in your heart—that bring meaning to life. Without them, he says, we die, both mentally and physically.
To say that ambition is the difference between the quick and the dead is a bold statement, but Kola stands by it. His mission, then, is to aid others in putting their dreams into action, irrespective of their age, professional background or life circumstances.
He doesn’t, however, suggest that this be easy. Far from it, he is candid about just how difficult a feat it is to pull off.
Dreams, Kola states, are very hard things to grasp and many people give up before the attainment of success because they meet hurdles either at the beginning, middle, or end of the journey and believe them to be insurmountable.
So you have to be fit for the journey and 100% committed, as he explains:
I have always maintained that in order for a person to achieve great results, it must never be viewed as a stroll in the park. In as much as we do not pray for obstacles to show up along our paths, we must be prepared to deal with them when they do.
Thankfully, with this caveat out of the way, Kola proceeds across seven expansive chapters to set out all the considerations required for hitting your goal (while avoiding home goals in the process).
This toolkit is underpinned by what Kola calls the “Empowered Thought Pillars” (ETP)—four precepts that all should follow if they want to make a difference, not only to their own life but those of others.
In brief, these are having a kind heart, giving back to loved ones and your community, playing fairly and providing a beneficial service.
To support this, he provides a fitting quote from the great American entrepreneur Andrew Carnegie that highlights that “abundance comes from making others better off”.
With the four pillars firmly in place, and the confidence that comes with knowing you are starting out with the right intentions, the author goes on to advise about how to understand what your own dream actually is.
I love the way that Kola encourages readers to write an autobiography of their lives as if they were 90 to enable them to consider their true dreams and goals from that sweeping perspective.
I also appreciated the many inspirational real-life stories recounted in the book of those brave men and women who made the world a better place by turning thoughts into results.
For instance, Kola discusses the Wright brothers and their dream for a flying machine.
They gained the mechanical skills necessary to eventually translate their dream to reality by working for several years in their shop with printing presses, bicycles, motors, and other machinery. Wilbur Wright once said, “For some years I have been afflicted with the belief that flight is possible to man.” Evidence that the Wright brothers dreamed soundly and committed to work with the resources at their disposal is seen in every aeroplane that flies in the air today.
If, however, the Wright brothers had listened to the naysayers scoffing at their ideas then we’d still be crossing the Atlantic by boat. Kola notes that to outsiders our dreams tend not to make sense. The answer is to be a “practical dreamer” who follows through on their dreams.
It won’t always come to be but at least you tried. The alternative is far worse, he reminds us: dying with regrets.
With the dream in place, it’s time to map out the steps to reaching it. Of paramount importance, Kola says, is addressing any potential bad habits that could easily upend those plans and he takes the time to go through these, such as a lack of focus, indecision and a refusal to listen or take risks, to ensure you don’t fall into the same traps.
What this all boils down to is having the right mental attitude in place before you set off. Being clear and honest with yourself, conquering your fears, and picturing the final outcome while being ready to tackle all those obstacles that will spring up along the way.
In a sense, then, Dream and Achieve is the gym where you work out before beginning the marathon, and by following all Kola’s hard-earned guidance and exercises, you’ll be ready to seize the gold medal.
For clarity, it is also worth adding as a committed Christian, the author does encourage readers to develop their spiritual side as much as their mental acuity. If this isn’t for you then nothing is lost in the wider effectiveness of Kola’s guidance but I personally found this weaving in of spiritual values brought a welcome added dimension.
Dream and Achieve isn’t a book you’ll read once and forget about. If you are committed to success then you’ll refer to it time and again just as if it were your own personal mentor.
If you are ready to invest in making your dreams a reality then consider picking up a copy as, to my mind, success starts with reading this book.
Dream and Achieve: Discover and Express Your Passion in Your Lifetime by Kola Olutimehin (MakeWay Publishing) is out now in paperback, eBook and audiobook priced at £7.50, £3.60 and £3.60 respectively. It is available from www.getkola.com, Amazon or www.makewaybooks.com.
Q&A INTERVIEW WITH SELF-HELP AUTHOR KOLA OLUTIMEHIN
Self-help author, international public speaker and corporate coach Kola Olutimehin has helped thousands of people get on the path to realising their dreams. In this exclusive interview he speaks about his own success journey, the vital importance of mindset, and why our nation’s leaders have as much a part to play as individuals in dream achievement.
Q. In your view, does success come first with a change of mindset or of approach?
A. It is always the mindset first! One of the sessions that I teach relates to an acronym, ‘TEA’. This suggests that our Thoughts (the way we think) lead to our Emotions (the way we feel), and determines the way we Act (how we do things).
Basically, one cannot have bad thoughts and be feeling good, or vice-versa. Also, if you are feeling happy, you are more likely to have a different approach to your work than when you are feeling sad. So, indeed, the ability to control our thoughts, within the realms of our mindset, is key!
Q. You have inspired thousands to achieve their dreams. What would you say is the most common pitfall that people face in pursuing their goals, and how do you avoid it?
A. A key issue is lack of belief in one’s capabilities, which I refer to as a deep and profound self-doubt, or even more poignant is to say that it is inferiority complex. Then, the next that is not far behind is the lack of focus.
The interesting point is that all these can be remedied, even by having others play those roles for you. For example, you could work with people who believe in your capabilities and egg you on. And you could also have people to help monitor your schedule and help plan things in the order of what is more important rather than fire-fighting, which is what people generally do with urgent matters.
Q. If there was one piece of advice you wish you’d known when you started your own journey towards success, what would it be?
A. Having a clearly mapped-out vision and the opportunity to work alongside a mentor whom I respect!
If my vision, or shall I say foresight, had been clear sooner, I would have avoided many pitfalls and the ‘starts & stops’ along the way. With a mentor, I would have learned more by watching them—how they achieve things and how they rise from setbacks. Their actions with respect to their own pursuits would have said more than their words
Q. In addition to being an author, you run many successful companies. Can you take us through a typical day in your life?
A. For a typical day of my life, particularly where I have matters vying for my attention in parallel, I always consider what I feel is more important first rather than the pressure that can come from others (staff and business associates, including customers). I choose when I take my telephone calls, read messages or engage in social media. Basically, I determine when and where I place my attention.
One of the things I used to do was pen a “Meeting with Myself” in my diary—this is when I needed time for myself and did not want to be disturbed. Once diarised, I would rarely take a double booking. And should anyone call for my time at this booked session for myself, I would simply say that ‘I am not available’. For me, it is a matter of life and I like to take it seriously such that I will avoid distractions. This also related to times that I needed to take a break and get some rest. Since I have now been able to establish these things mentally, I no longer register the ‘meeting’ in my diary though I still observe the meetings.
So, I could start the day with engaging customers or some other stakeholders, and then plan the rest of my work around things that I need to personally deliver on. If I am conducting a training session then much of the day will be taken up by that and it will be afterwards that I look at my other priorities. I refrain from checking my emails through the day, unless I am expecting something specifically.
So, based on the fact that I am involved in various types of businesses, my attention is shared and not many days are alike. However, I like to be able to look back and see whether the day produced desired results, or I just wasted my time without knowing what, or if anything, was achieved. If so then this calls for a rethink for the following day(s).
Q. How do you see Dream and Achieve helping readers the most?
A. It gives people the ability to look inwards by reading relatable material. They will recall childhood dreams and I have seen some resuscitate theirs. The book, as I have been told, is quite inspirational and provides a drive to go beyond where they have been. I would like to quote one of those that reviewed the book, who said the following:
“This book you hold in your hands, Dream and Achieve, challenges your existence, your beliefs, and your motives. It is a PAT, a KICK and a SLAP … all rolled in one, depending on who you are. It is a ‘PAT’ on the back to those who have dreams and are pursuing them …; it is a ‘KICK’ in the butt for those who have dreams and are doing nothing about it …; it is a ‘SLAP’ in the face of those who think there are no more dreams to dream.”
Q. You say in your book that if we don’t pursue our dreams then we die. Can you expand further upon this?
A. The death I referred to was not in the literal sense, but the fact that one could be as good as dead if there is nothing to pursue. Such people have little or nothing to live for, and sometimes complain ‘what is it all about?’ When some look forward to what others may refer to as a basic desire, such as seeing their grandchildren, you can see the gleam in their eyes when they talk about it, and that is because they have that to live for. You may find that people who have been highly driven much of their life do not particular live long after they have dropped most of those things that gave them meaning in life.
Q. One of your own inspirational heroes is iconic self-help author Napoleon Hill. If you could meet him, what would you ask him?
A. If I did meet Napoleon Hill, I would ask him more about building faith. This is the key point of achievement—knowing you have what you desire, without a shadow of doubt, until you eventually see its manifestation. I would love to know much more about the staying power attitude to attract faith.
Q. The world is going through a particularly difficult time at present. In light of this, is now the right time to be pursuing your dreams?
A. There could not be a better time to pursue dreams but now. As someone said, ‘The stars shine brightest when the night is darkest’. I have also always said that the Almighty does not give us dreams to tease our desires but to see whether we would dare to believe them and, thereafter, pursue the dreams.
We all have this one life to live, and the risk of failure is lowest when things seem gloomy; when there is not very far to fall from. So, indeed, the time to pursue dreams is when necessity hits, and there are many things people can pursue with the Dream Driver’s encouragement and thrust.
Q. Your own dream is to help transform your native country, Nigeria. What is the issue you want to address, and how do you plan to help resolve it?
A. Actually, my dream goes beyond the transformation of my native country, as it is focused for community development. It is just that it begins there, as I have initiated plans into other parts of Africa and Europe. More so, there are still things to do for ‘Gudrun Place’, as named in my book, in the UK. This is how we can provide vulnerable young children with families they can call their own.
In terms of the issues that I want to address with community development, as far as I am able to reach, it is the thrust to let people know that the development of a nation (or place) should not be totally focused on what the government can provide. In places where there is irresponsibility in governance, it is the people that will suffer the lack that results; so, we need to think of what can be done today. In a nutshell, the issue that I desire to address is that we do not wait for anyone in respect of what we want to achieve; we must step out ourselves and use our God-given talent and capabilities to the full. We do not require permission to be ourselves!
Q. Do you think that a country’s leader has an impact on the public’s drive, or lack thereof, to achieve?
A. Totally! They are seen to be the voice of authority and they can either be a positive or negative force. The actions of Sir Winston Churchill during the Second World War are a constant reminder of how a leader can inspire a people to action that produces desired results. We have also learnt the story of Singapore and how their leader, Lee Kuan Yew, drove the nation to ‘first world’ status, in spite of having no natural endowments. There are many other stories that can be cited.