“I have a dream…”. The most celebrated speech delivered by the great Martin Luther King Jr; during the March on Washington for jobs and freedom on August 28,1963. He dreamt of economic and social racial equality in the United States.
Someone once tried to convince me that we all dream in black and white. But do we? personally I dream in color; or it’s just the pigment of my imagination…
We all dream, it’s the beauty of living. And every great dream begins with a dreamer. They say life is a dream and you are the creator of your own imagination. We have big plans for tomorrow. For our futures. And as each day passes, it brings us one step closer to our dreams. Ah, the thrill! Your mind wonders off to la-la land. Busy building castles in the air. Just fresh from high school, you see yourself (at 24 years) a CEO of a big company, driving a land cruiser Prado, arriving at your 5-bedroom mansion in Runda. You open the door and yell “honey I’m home” … but hold your horses! Hold it right there before you find yourself a slave at a corporate office, driving a cheap Japanese rusty bucket. Arriving at your bed sitter in kawangware where your next door neighbors are 10 Nigerian dudes sharing a one-bedroom.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with dreaming big, but often we tend to focus on the end result rather than the process. Some fail to attain their aim either because they don’t know how to achieve their purpose or are not prepared to pay the price in sweat, sacrifice and sustained efforts. If you don’t play your cards right, you’ll run out of time, get bored and end up settling for a mediocre life. Far from what you ever dreamt of.
“what do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question you may have heard a lot growing up. Your aspirations were probably to end up in a prestigious career that your 6-year old self couldn’t even pronounce. Or you wanted to end up a rich entrepreneur like your dad. But Right now, your grown 20 something year old self plays video games from dusk till dawn. No strategy but busy shouting at the local pub, “All my friends are ballers!” damn near drinking all the alcohol into extinction. Remember, you don’t get what you want. You get exactly what you work for. What you focus on. What you take action upon every single day. Statistically, only roughly 6-8 percent of people get to achieve their goals. What happens to the rest?
Some people have the desire to achieve their goals but are greedy even before they receive them. They want more than they deserve. Someone will claim they can’t do volunteer jobs nor would they accept a job offering salary below 80000/- per month. They want to be rich and they want it now! The small steps don’t matter to them. Get off your high horse! Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. The small steps are to prepare you for the big steps. They are to make you experienced and strong enough to handle the hurdles on the murky road to success.
The other day I was watching a show called living with Ess on NTV. The theme of the show was women in the boardroom and among the women on the bench, was Mary Njoki. The founder and CEO of Glass House PR (Her company was named Africa’s top 40 under 40 women Leaders 2017 by Amazon Watch Magazine).
Mary didn’t just wake up one day and build her company, she started out with data entry jobs at Graffins college. After that, she got her first job at Soflink Options where she would earn 15000/-. Because of her persistence and hard work, she was promoted to the marketing department. At 19, she was able to make the company more sales and ultimately became the best employer in the company. She then got another job opportunity from one of her networks where she would sell hardware. At her stay at this second company, she would start to volunteer at k-krew, one of the largest Christian fellowships in Kenya where she would offer PR and Communication Services and this is where her passion for PR began.
At 23, she was on her third job and this time it was more of something she loved pursuing; the Orange company, a PR company. She would grab the opportunities at hand and maximize to build up her knowledge capital of the industry. In June 2012, she decided to resign from her job. Armed with her laptop, 6000/- savings and a yearning to redefine the industry, Mary Njoki decided to set up her own company, Glass House PR. And she would reach out to the networks she had made in her previous engagements to kick off her company.
Looking at her story, Mary started small, she took baby steps to learn, gain experience first before launching her dream. The networks she had made were a great factor in starting her company. Experience is the best teacher. You have to trust the process.
Distraction is another disease. Temptations. Many pleasant but time wasting activities. Especially with the era of social media, everyone wants to portray a life of the party, trips, vacations like the ones mirrored on social and main stream media imagery. You just want to fit in with your peers. You’d rather spend your free time in public parks, shopping malls, restaurants, clubs and movies and end up forgoing your goals. Something economists refer to as opportunity cost. Doing something at the expense of another. Some people would assume the twenties is the time to have all the fun, live a care-free life without responsibilities nor consequences since they are still under the wing of their parents or guardians. Therefore, they make excuses; I’m not ready, I’m too young, it’s not the right time. And if you believe them, you’ll never see the things you desire come true.
The twenties are the most crucial part of your life. It’s the years you should spend investing in yourself. They are the prime years of your life and the years in large part that will decide how you live the rest of your life. 30 is only the new 20 if you’re successful by 30-otherwise its just 30. You shouldn’t procrastinate your dreams, the present moment is where you create your future and the only time you can be productive and work on what you believe in. Look at people like Mary Njoki, at 23 she became CEO of Glass House PR. Seth gor at 21 became CEO of Vines of Africa. Nikita, a 17-year-old girl is shaking the Kenyan Music Industry. So what’s the excuse now? Are you still too young? The time is now or never.
Failure can be a big discouraging factor. Yes, you probably started a kabiz of selling mtumba clothes at the streets of Nairobi but the Kanjo caught up with you and your biz crashed and burnt. Your next project was a mutura stand but you were just making losses. You took your last draw at selling second hand merchandise online but it just didn’t work out for you. Your heart is shattered and the word business has been erased from your dictionary. But who said it was going to be easy? Good things don’t come easy, you have to push and push till you break through. As they say, fake it till you make it. Life is a battle of survival of the fittest. It’s not for the weak in heart.
The truth is, failure is a precious gift. An inevitable step on your way to success and a step you need to take more than once. it is followed by lessons and experiences. It makes you stronger with more will power. It shows you what exactly not to do next time because it didn’t work out this time. And if you keep trying, you’ll eventually get there. Don’t be among those people who don’t follow through with their dreams because they fear not succeeding. Don’t also fall a victim of “what will people say if I fail”. That statement has killed many dreams. You never know till you try. Better to try than live a life of regrets.
Take a look at Chris Kirubi. A self-made billionaire. Building his business empire came with its fair share of failures along the way. One of his notable failures is when he tried to venture into the painting industry. At the time, the paint industry was dominated by few individuals who were the major distributors and contactors. They were threatened by kirubi’s new product and in order to stifle his product, no big contractor would buy his paint and there was no one willing to stock his product. After some time, kirubi went into huge debt and was forced to shut down his company. This however did not stop him from venturing into other businesses (follow him on twitter, on a continual series known as #AskKirubi for solid entrepreneurial advice).
Another good example is none other than Thomas Edison. His whole life is a proof of the power of failure and how you can work with it for optimum success. The guy tried 1000 times. For pit sake 1000 times! It can’t get any worse than that, but his success at the end of it all was a big triumph. You and your 3 attempts of failure have cried your eyes out, even blamed your ancestors and sworn up and down never to do business. The irony.
Chasing your dreams is like a game of musical chairs. It gets harder along the way and that’s why very few make it to the finish line. After all has been said and done. Are you ready to fulfill your dreams at any cost? Through thick and thin? In sickness and in health? Till death do you part? Then hit the snooze button and keep the dream alive! Remember, if you have a heartbeat, there is still time for your dreams. Take a deep breath and try again. And again if you have to.