Olaseni Bello is a Nigerian immigrant, an American citizen, a husband, a father, a lawyer with an MBA, an entrepreneur, and a decorated veteran. And not one of these things has come easy. With the belief that you have the power to change your life for the better, Olaseni does not accept challenges lying down.
Olaseni tells us about his highly anticipated arrival on American soil, knowing that upon landing his entire life would change. His understanding of America came from TV and movies, and he was greeted here with many unexpected challenges. He didn’t fit in because of the way he spoke, his clothes, and the way he looked. His mother enrolled him in Tae Kwon Do, where he excelled, and where he learned to embrace the mental and physical self-discipline that he has relied on throughout his life.
After law school and completing a judicial clerkship, rather than taking the traditional path to a law firm, Olaseni wanted to repay what he calls a “debt of gratitude to America.” Coming here as an immigrant, Olaseni talks about fully recognizing and appreciating the opportunities that this country provided to him. He applied to join the Army JAG Corps, specifically requesting assignment to Fort Hood, Texas, and made clear that he wanted to be deployed to Afghanistan to serve his country.
We talk about the challenges that Olaseni – and many veterans – faced after separating from the military and trying to transition to the corporate world. Despite 5.5 years in the JAG Corps, law firms did not see his experience as relevant. He realized that he had to learn to sell his skills in a way that a non-military employer could understand. Every employer is looking for someone who has a particular set of skills – who can say “I do X.” Olaseni says, “In the Army we solve problems and that is our X. And that X keeps changing.” Adapting quickly and being resourceful are veteran super-skills.
After overcoming so many challenges and having such great success, Olaseni leaves us with his thoughts on never letting fear guide your decisions. “Failure is part of the equation for opportunity.. . . Failure is a tool that forces us to get creative or explore a path we may have ignored.” Olaseni doesn’t see failures as roadblocks, but sees his failures as silver linings. Each has been “illuminating in its own way.”
Episode Links and Resources:
JAG Corps: https://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/specialty-careers/law.html
Carpe Med: https://www.carpemedtravel.com/
Olaseni Bello Bio: https://www.linkedin.com/in/olaseni-a-bello-jr-esq/
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