Saturday, June 11, 2016

Stay True to Your Dreams

I struggled to write yesterday, starting and abandoning four posts. While I thought they contained good ideas, they proved extremely laborious to write and I gave up a few minutes after midnight. I am hopeful that I will pick them up and complete them later on in the series.

Thursday's post was very well received. Evidently, many young people are stuck with evolving "hows", and found reassurance in knowing they were not alone. My favourite sentence from that post, which was also the one with the most engagement was: "While there will always be a few people who seem to follow a linear path to greatness, the path for many of us will consist of twists, turns, and pivots."

I think we should talk about something related today, so here goes.


We have all seen this happen.

A brilliant young person with an incredible vision graduates, and takes a position at a Company. She tells herself and other stakeholders that she will stay five years to gain enough experience, then she will go back to a school for a second degree, or she will quit to start a business, or she will leave to do social work.

I bet you know where this is going already.

It almost never happens that way.

Life often takes over before the fifth year. She settles into the 9 to 5 routine. She buys a nice car, moves into a nice flat, and takes nice vacations once a year. She may even start raising a family in-between. Her appetite for risk goes to zero. Quitting to follow the original plan becomes unattractive. She worries about how she would sustain her lifestyle and maybe family if she stops getting a salary.

It is extremely easy to get used to the life. It is a nice and comfortable one, and there is nothing wrong with getting used to it. Your vision might even evolve to incorporate rising to the top of your industry as a means to your desired end, or exclude some of the things you once thought important - like a second degree. In such cases, it is perfectly okay to scrap or modify your original exit plan.

BUT, starting out - it is important to be conscious that life tends to happen this way and to plan for it. Like Yinka Elegbede, one of my favourite colleagues and a big inspiration, recently said to me, "what matters is to stay true to your dreams, not where you are". Do not settle until you are where you once dreamed off.

The journey is not the destination.

You were made for more.

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