The one thing that I find fascinating about kids is their responses when you ask them what they would like to become when they grow up. As soon as they learn how to say ‘mama’ and are enrolled in school, they develop ambitions of lucrative and appealing careers. Even if you wake them from their sleepy stupor and ask the same question again, most of them will blurt out conventional careers such as engineering, piloting, law, medicine etc. We all have been there at some point in life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. In fact, it pleases the parent to learn that their kids have a mental picture of the career path they would like to take once they are done with school. So delighted are the parents that they enroll their kids to the best schools they can to help them realize their dreams.
The drill to taking the conventional career path is very simple. All you need to do is go to high school and score stellar points to help you gain admission to college. Graduate from college and armed with a degree, find a stable job in an office with perks such as pension. But there is more than what meets the eyes. At some point, it dawns on you that as more colleges continue releasing graduates into the job markets, you might actually find trouble getting a job related to what you studied in college. You may also reach a point where you are more interested in soul nourishment than making money.
The 8-5 kind of a job might sound ideal to some people but there is a whole lot of self aware people who do not consider the regular career paths. This group knows that education is good but is still of the opinion that conventional education may not be the solution for what they want to pursue. They know that they also need to master their art, perfect their craft and they will accomplish much. Nowadays, there are countless stories of people who study a certain course in college but end up in completely different fields. Avenues such as BLAZE Summits are making it possible for the youth to embrace these unconventional journeys to success. Having attended some of the summits, here are some of the lessons that I have taken along the way from some of the Blaze Mentors.
Make a commitment to the craft
King Kaka, one of Kenya’s finest rappers, talks passionately about how he met DJ Loop, a renowned producer who has worked with big names such as K-South, Chiwawa, Harry Kimani, Mercy Myra among others. Kaka says he worked as the producer’s assistant where he learnt the dynamics of music production. He was able to produce his first album under DJ loop and to date he has three albums with the fourth coming out in December. While talking to the youth, he talks of working from the answer to the question. Working with the end in mind, basically. Unless you intentionally have a tangible thing, you are doing, you will waste time idling.
Talk is cheap
Everyone now ‘wants’ to be a photographer, writer, chef, artist, entrepreneur or a fashion designer among others but that’s all they do – want. Once you identify what you want to do, start doing it ASAP. Take as many pictures to get the bad ones out of the way and master photography, start writing and reading other people’s works, cook, draw, start a business and do something taking you closer to your grand plan. When the sound of actions will be loud enough, you will not have to speak.
Everything is your raw material
Anita Nderu has, in more than one occasion, hinted on the power of social media. As an active user of the different platforms herself, she talks of how much social media has to offer. Responding to a young lady who said she does not have money to produce music yet she believes she is a great rapper, Anita gave the example of Justin Bieber and how he was discovered via YouTube. Whatever resource you have, that is enough raw material to kick start your career. Take out that phone, record a video, upload, get feedback and better that skill. You never know who is watching and might be willing to help you.
Develop a thick skin
When you decide to take a path deemed unconventional by the society, one thing that will stand out is the constant inquisitiveness from people. You will respond to a gazillion questions on why you took that path and not what is right by the societal standards. In some occasions, you will be chided for making that decision but the buck stops with you. If you are able to achieve your goals, then stick with that.
Perfect what you want to be best in
You need to keep working at developing whatever you want to do. Read books, watch videos, listen to podcasts, get mentors and work at your passion. If this is what you want to do you need to put in the time.
Well, need I say more?