I value many people in the Nigerian Knowledge transfer industry (Writers, speakers, trainers and life coaches), but I respect a few. Niyi Adesanya is one of them. There are a few big lessons I have learnt from Niyi (I prefer to call him Uncle Niyi though). Niyi is a veteran speaker of International pedigree, he’s given more than 1000 speeches in 15Years, creating a career out of trainings for individuals and corporate organizations.

1. Energy is Vital: My first contact with Niyi was in 2006, nearly Seven (7) years ago, though I didn’t meet him in person until 2009, three years later. All those years, One thing was consistent with Niyi, he stayed energetic through the odds of competition, economic downtimes and personal challenges; he just won’t stop ‘talking’.

2. Education is not about schooling: Niyi broke the protocol. He’s been paid between $3,500 and $4,000 speaking fee for single speaking Gig without a Ph.D. He built his firm, Fifth Gear into some sort of blue-chip Consulting power; Niyi is a product of reading, serious research and personal education. Niyi’s communication is up-scale, his finesse is quality, and trust me all of his carriage communicates elitism. He succeeded in proving that schooling is not as essential as education. So, few years before I graduated, I decided not to allow my schooling take my education from me.

3. Relationship pays more than Competence: Over the past few years in my conversations with this rare entrepreneur, I have seen him build new relationships and nuture them. Some of this relationships have earned him more pay Cheques than, mere competence. Competence is critical though, but there’s an entirely new leverage that the relationships in your life will bring. Niyi does free stuff for well-meaning people, becomes their new friend, and sure gets them to need him more at a point where they must pay a premium. Did you catch that? It’s principle!

4. When you get a platform, fight to keep it: Niyi gave me this personal advice in the first quarter of 2013. Niyi told me of his commitment to keep every training contract he has signed, ensuring that he delivers and become the only option for that job. That’s the spirit. No desperation, but you must be firm, very firm!

I hope you learn a thing or two from these lessons. I have imbibed this culture, and trust me I am getting better for it.

Thanks to Uncle Niyi. There are zeniths ahead!