The biggest challenge in executing any career strategy is lack of vision. By that I mean, inability to articulate what you want to be. Interestingly, in this world, there are opportunities in many areas. As Tim Cook runs Apple, he has his place in the league of U.S. senators, and those senators have their own domains before entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
The fact is this: there are many ways in this world to have fulfilling careers. The main challenge is when another person’s success becomes an overriding benchmark to yours. If you have that mentality, you would be rolling along with no core on what you want to pursue. Most times, despite your skills and capabilities, you will not have satisfactions.
In my experience, the biggest satisfaction comes when you know you are making progress on things which you have desired to pursue. And defining those things must come out of awareness, and understanding of many things which could help you to thrive in life. That is also where humility comes – what you have called great success may be things others passed over. But in the foolishness of a fool’s mind, he or she was thinking that was the pinnacle.
That your classmate is running a startup and has raised money must not truncate the joy you have in a promising career in a multinational company. Certainly, you cannot run to Corporate Affairs Commission to incorporate your own company so that you would be an entrepreneur. Doing otherwise without a clear roadmap would be carelessness. There is nothing wrong in working for another person. The key is making sure that it gives you fulfillment.
And if your classmate whose life has been defined by politics is elected a senator, certainly your trajectory to become a bank Director cannot be terminated by joining politics without many considerations. Doing that mindlessly means you have not defined what your purpose is.
Look deep into that career and examine the game plan. You are actually making progress. Do not fall-off because your classmate has become a professor while you are still “not there”. Provided you never wanted to be a professor and that present job has a clear path for you to be actualized in your career, there is nothing to be overly worried.
In this world, there are many missions. You need to invest time and efforts to discover yours in your career. If you do, and you are pursuing it, do not allow “noise” to get in the way. I have seen entrepreneurs who toiled for years only to break through at the end. If you ask them, they would explain they believed there would be light at the end of the tunnel. When that light comes, the fulfillment is there.
Under the present entrepreneurial effervescence in Africa, please do not resign from your job because your friend has raised money in his startup. You need to consider that your present job could even make you an investor, putting money in companies. Yes, that job can take you to destination if you stay focused.
The key in life is humility, and making sure that no matter how successful you think you are, some people passed the opportunity to do what you are doing, to become something else. No matter what it is, defining your career purpose would help you stay motivated in whatever you are doing. But if you allow any noise to get in your way, you would likely not make progress.
Last year, an Honourable narrated an experience. A man made it to House of Rep in Abuja. Then, at the end of the month, he received his paycheck. He looked at it, and left: the money was nothing – could not cover a container profit. He never made it back to the Chambers. Parade yourself to that guy as House member!
As they wrote in the Acres of Diamond, right in that career, great things can happen. Sure – that does not mean that you must stay as an accountant in a dying sector. Yes, you can stay as an accountant and move to a promising sector. But leaving accounting to join politics without much preparations may not help you.
Purpose is the pointer, but in a world where hysteria about ephemeral things always bang on our eardrums, many people end up losing their way, and their minds too. Many have ended up living another person’s dreams, and continuously struggle to fit in; but a misfit is always a misfit, and no satisfaction can be found there.
Again, there’s another notion we must correct: the mentality of ‘I don’t want to work for anyone’. People, all of us are working for someone, or even multitudes of persons; there’s no shortcut to it. If you are an employee, your only headache could be that you are answerable to your superiors or bosses, so if you find it to be too much or demeaning, the other route could be tougher. As entrepreneur, you are meant to be answerable to all kinds of people: big or small, and you are more likely to add ‘sir’, ‘ma’, even ‘chief’; if you wish the cheque to ever smile at you.
Humility remains the key to success, because if you are not a good employee for the wrong reasons, you are not likely to become good entrepreneur, for those same reasons. You are in this world to do certain things, not everything.
There’s no timeframe for success, but always ensure that you find satisfaction in what you do.
---Visit our Store for my books, cases, etc. Now, enjoy our consolidated subscription for all contents (past, present and future).
-- We offer Advisory Services (tech, strategy & Africa).
---Sign-up to my Founders Mentoring (click here).