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Monday, 6 October 2014

'It is Not What You Lack That Will Slow You Down, It Is What You Have And Don’t Know How To Use' - Fela Durotoye

Motivational speaker Fela Durotoye is also the CEO of Gemstone Group and Visible Impact. He is married to renowned Make-up artist and founder of House of Tara International, Tara Fela Durotoye. He bared his mind in a recent interview about his life's journey. Read excerpts from his very inspiring story below:

What God told me was that its not what you lack that will slow you down, its what you have and don’t know how to use
I gave out everything I owed when God actually told me to go and set up a Christian Lifestyle and Entertainment Mission life in Osun State and to leave the consulting job that I had. After that he gave me revelation to go start my own company. I laughed when God gave me this revelation because how can one start a company without having a desk or table at least. I didn't even have an office; but God told me two things I ll never forget, he said you don’t need what you don’t have to get what I want to give you. If you don’t have it you don’t need it. 

It was so hard to believe, because I was thinking that how do I operate without having a chair and a computer and one of the first thing that he told me was that, it’s not what you lack that will slow you down, It’s what you have and don’t know how use. I was thinking what do I have? Yes, I have ideas on how to write their business plans as at then and the second things was that I had a discount that I could offer my client to use their computers to write their business plans and that was exactly what happened. My first four clients, I actually charged them based on the skills that I had in writing business plans and I offer them discount to use their own computers to write them. So, ultimately, my business started even though I did not have a computer because I had the skills that others need.

When I got my first computer, I didn't have enough money. All I had in my savings was N60, 000. A laptop, printer and all that will cost more than N180, 000 but God told me the second time and said it is not what you lack that will slow you down but what you have and don’t know how to use it and I thought within me and said, what do I have? He said you have good will with a young man that sells computer. He reminded me of a man that I had once helped and I went to him and he said, Fela, it would be pleasant to help you so the guy collected the N60, 000 and four post dated cheques and he gave me a laptop and a printer. So I used the laptop and the printer to generate the income that I used to pay him.

I don’t know who is reading this thing and thinks he or she does not have what it takes. I want to say that they already have what they need to take them to the next level. It may not take you all the way to your dream but it will definitely take you to the next level and when you get to the next level, you will continue to move higher, so STOP waiting for all that you need for your dream to come to pass. If you think it is time for you to start that business and you don’t have enough equipment to do so, you don’t need it. Also remember that the owner of Tantalizer didn't start with a eatery. She started with her personal kitchen in Festac and they moved to their security post and from there they moved on. 

Every great man must have learnt how to make use of their time and they all have humble beginning. There were days that my wife would want to take her bath and there would be someone in the bathroom and she would have to rush down to her father’s house to take her bath. I would say that if looking for N5 to feed in year 2001 was not humble, then I don’t know what is. I didn't have a kobo, I had resigned from Philip Consulting in 2000, and at a time, I had no income.

First of all, I didn't quit my job because of another better offer. I left to start Christian Lifestyle and Entertainment Mission. I went to build a Christian leisure centre called Eden, in Ife, So I took every things that I ever had, my TV, sound system suites fridge, everything went into that place. I also had about seven suits while I was leaving Philip Consulting but God asked me to give everything out. So, there I was, with absolute nothing left apart from a carpet in my room, a mattress on the floor and a dust bin by the side of my bed. My cousin gave me a fan that had a plastic blade but didn't have a cover. 

Whenever people get married they go on honeymoon and enjoy themselves but my wife and I couldn't afford it. We left and went into our humble abode, there was not enough space for my wife to bring her load from her father’s house, even my cook had a room facing our room. You can imagine that there were security men, gateman, cleaners, and all that and yet we share the same toilet and every time I bought a new towel they would say, well done we love your new towel. You have to come out of your room, pass through where people are before you can get to the toilet.

I had one pair of jean, one corduroy, and three shirts. When I moved to Victoria Garden City (VGC) I didn't need a bag to pack. I had a major breakthrough in 2001 and it caused us to move to a flat in VGC. We moved there in a jetta and the entire family moved once and inside of the boot was mattress. Apart from my mattress, there was nothing. We had two bed sheets, and we used one of the bed sheets as window blind. When I call the name of my wife, you will hear the echo because the room was totally empty. So if that is not humble then I don’t know what humble is.

The night I had N5 biscuit for dinner.
There was a day that I had not eaten a meal and I had no clue of how I was going to survive that night and fortunately, I was one of those people at a very early time in my life that God already told me that I am sustainer, you will not meet anybody for anything. And here I was in the middle of nowhere. I had nothing to eat and there was nobody I could cry out to and I was about to lay down on my mattress and my mattress was covering a hole in my carpet and as I was about to lie down. I heard in my spirit, you have to rise and lay your bed, kings do not sleep on unmade bed. 

I just laughed and said to myself, as I am right now, I cant move, and God said, Son, you are a king, rise and lay your bed, as I lifted the mattress, I found a neat N5 note in the hole. Believe me; I used to sweep my carpet every morning by myself. That money was a miracle as far as I was concerned. I picked it up and I ran to the nearest Mallam, and I bought one packet of cookies biscuit, as I tore the biscuit wrapper to devour the biscuit. I heard again, kings do not eat on the road. I was frustrated, what is this king thing all about, but anyway I obeyed and walked back home and arranged the biscuit in a plate and went to one of my neighbours that had a fridge and he gave me cold water. I laid down and blessed the biscuit and I started eating the biscuit one after the other. I would eat a bit, put it down on the plate like a king. I can never forget that. 

A year later, I was driving on the same road, and I saw that Mallam that sold the biscuit to me and the guy said to me, lipe don better pu you oh now (life don better for you now). I asked wetin happen, and he said you no dey come buy am for biscuit again (laugh). That was one of the things that would never leave me. Interestingly, during my partnership with God, I came to discover my life as a Kingdom builder, an Institution and a Generation and she said, think about the word, kingdoms, national Builder, institution and all of a king, and I came to realize that what God was saying was that I was going to be a General Builder. 

Till today, people call me king Fela but they do not recognize the kind of king that I am. I cried the day my friend told me all I do was work day and night with nothing to show for it. Gratitude and humility are what I feel when I remember my humble beginning because I realize that I’m not better than anybody else. It helps me also never to look down on anybody. For two reasons, first, I was not a lazy man when I had no money and one night one of my friends wanted me to go party with them and it happened to be the night that I just got my computer, I said no and chose to stay back and work. I was still working as at when they came back. 

He angrily switched off my laptop around 3am, and said you will just be working, working, working, night and day and there is no result. He probably was tipsy, but he didn't realize what he had done, I didn't even know when I started crying, and I asked God, how can I be working without having the evidence of reward? And God replied and said my son, I will so bless you that people will humble themselves to come ask what it is that you are doing. And today, so many people have come to ask me same question. I know how it is to be hard working and truthful and yet there is no result. So I don’t look down on anybody.

 I also recognize that, the fact that you don’t have anything today does not mean that, that is what you are. Many times the state we are is not where we are going to but it is just where we are passing through. I'm not telling you a story of fable. I’m speaking from my personal experience in life. So when I see people in a place or position that seem like where they don’t want to be, I'm sure they will not spend much time in such place, rather they will move on to the next level.

Never treat a man according to the place he is currently, because he is not going to be there for long, but the memories of those things that you do to him will remain with him forever. That is why I tend to treat people as if they are everything, so that one day, when they become something, they would say to me that Fela, when I met you, I had nothing, yet you treated me so well.

I used to drive my wife all over Lagos but today I have bought her seven cars. I met her before the name Tara became a Tara brand as most people know. I met her in our church, House on the rock in 1999 when I was twenty eight and the half years old and she had only done about 13 brides and I was at Philip Consulting as at that time and I could remember that I had sleepless night trying to help her build her brand. 

Tara was a more experienced Christian than I was. I had only been a Christian for about a year and half when I met her and so one of the things drew her us closer was when I started hearing God and he wanted me to leave Philip Consulting where I was doing extremely well. Everyone thought I was crazy, leaving such a job and saying God had called me to then go out and set up a life on my own. I didn't even know how to hear God well and also how to understand him, and through out that time, she was my prayer partner.

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