The 4 E's and Getting Ahead

A lot of people have requested that I write a post and have asked why I haven't posted for some time now. 

I have a short response and a striking post. My short response, "I am going through some transitioning and that is called growth. 

Now to the post; I noticed that most young people find it difficult to access some opportunities and that hinges on four core E's. I learned about three of this E's at the Talent of the Future Masterclass organized by Ideation Hub Africa. Thank you Mrs. Debola Deji Kurunmi for sharing. 

1. Experience: I have learned that nothing can take away experience. Especially those knowledge and capacity you built working on different roles. 

I could recall in 2007, I was leading campaign on HIV/AIDS. I could recall how I was talking about it on several and small focused groups. I learned public speaking during this period and also it was my first journey towards active citizenship. 

I also applied to a basic school in rural Lagos, when I was 15 and then take on several volunteering role moving ahead.  

The truth is I never knew what I was doing then but I am glad for those experiences today. Why? There are times; a role would require someone who have multi-dynamic experience and you would be the go to person. These experiences also influenced my selection as a Diana Award mentor and International Judge. 

Recommendation: You don't have to wait to build experience. You can start now with what you have. Start even before you are ready. Opportunities meet preparation. 

2. Expertise: One of the greatest way to get this is to focus on a particular industry and build your experience over time in the industry. For instance, I had worked in the past and now in the education and non-profit sector. I have build strong expertise in the area and recently I am well grounded in social innovation and sustainable development. 

You can only be an expert when you do the real work. I try as much as possible to put into action all I have learned. And if I can do that frequently with additional education, I become an expert. E.g. Frequently writing a grant,  going through the process of constituting a board. 

To become an expert requires setback, failure and several trial and error. 

Recommendation: Choose a sector you are interested in and start building your expertise in that sector by taking up roles and responsibilities. Also to become an expert, you need a mentor. Never undermine the power of mentorship. 

3. Education: One of the greatest way to quickly move ahead in any profession is to get the right education. Education complement experience and expertise. This isn't necessary formal education. Non-formal education is what I am talking about. Attending seminars, fellowships, conferences, 6 months incubators where you learn nitty gritty of your work. 

I could recall at YPB I had access to financial management, Corporate and Legal Framework, Customers Experience etc. At Carrington Fellowship I learned about sustainability, media management, proposal writing, pitching and project management, design thinking etc. 

Education gives you the authority you need to command respect in your field. In some cases a master's degree helps too. 

Recommendation: Take courses early enough. There are several free online courses and tools. Udemy, Coursera, EDX. You could also leverage local programs like seminars and workshops to upskill yourself. Some even come at no cost. 

Exposure: I call this adventure! Traveling to places to learn about new things, new culture, new language. 

Mixing with people who share diverse or different views from you. You would really learn and it might influence your work. Probably, you would have strong negotiation and emotional intelligence skills. 

Personally, growing up in the slum, I have engaged people whose conditions are worse than mine and it influences the work that I do. Not only that, I am not fixated. I have the opportunity of traveling outside the country using my own resources. I traveled to Ghana twice on my accord to attend the African Youth SDGs Summit. I got a lot of exposure and networked too. I made friends from about 25 different African Countries. Same when I traveled to South Africa and when I was collecting data in about 12 communities and 3 states in Nigeria. During this period, I had access to lived experiences and with that I can answer questions about those regions and combat any cultural shock. These experiences I was able to transfer to the International judging committee of the Diana Award. 

Also during this judging period, I learned about how to create a judging and scoring guide. Power of Exposure! 

Recommendation: Travel to a place outside your community. If you cannot get fully funded programme. Save a part of your income to attend those that are partially funded or not funded. You will gain the exposure and network to move ahead. 

I have gotten this 4 E's but I wouldn't stop. We can't just settle for less! We need to be different from who we were yesterday. 

If you find this helpful, kindly drop a comment. 

Thank you

Hammed Kayode Alabi ©2019
Photo Credit: Salt Talk Africa, Africa Youth SDGs


  1. Thank you so much
    Please don't stop continue because you are really impacting exceedingly greatly to our growth and the future of our great nation

  2. This is a very helpful tool for upcoming leaders and social entrepreneurs.Thank you very much for sharing..

  3. This is worth the time reading and so inspiring!

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