Monday, May 18, 2020

A walk Into the Unknown Future

One thing we can do as young people in this awkward situation we have found ourselves, is to use the time we have to reflect on where we have come from, where we are and where we want to be in building a career pathway or a future that would survive any shake ups like shrinking economy, pandemic, technological evolution, job loss etc.

 It is an open ended journey with many different answers and pathways to take depending with your situation. I believe in research, reflection, observation, evaluation, planning and a meeting with self in understanding how best to cope with existing and emerging situations. This is the time our capacity will be stretched to the limits while learning essential skills like creativity, innovation, problem solving, communication, critical thinking, budgeting, etc. will help us navigate the rough terrains towards survival mode and adapting into new territories which will eventually define our new normal.

 Sometimes life brings a bundle of uncertainty which can break us down completely, strengthen us, unite us, uplift us from the comfort zone into power zone or leave us paralyzed with no options. It is very clear we are in that moment due to the pandemic and the shrinking economic situation in Kenya. It is tough, but the last thing to lose is HOPE which I’m not ready to let go. A walk into the unknown future.

“I rather walk slowly on the right path, than to sprint in any direction. Don’t take a risk, but go for calculated risk.

 Picture from archive: Training at Oasis Mathare before COVID-19

 It’s now two years since I took the leap of hope into self-employment as a youth consultant, trainer providing training in life-skill, digital courses (social media, graphic design and photography) and entrepreneurship. I must admit it wasn’t easy as many would think from dealing extra ‘free’ hours, sometimes no assignments, pursuit for new connections, follow ups, re-branding, researching, understanding what it means to be self-employed, self-learning, exploring different things, keeping a balance between community charity work versus investing time in future prospects and searching for paid work etc.

Landing the next job or paid assignments can be very tricky and frustrating affair, especially in a struggling economy like what we have in Kenya. Now that we have COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted many things creating anxiety in an already struggling economy makes life tough for the self-employed, employed and worse for the unemployed.

Many have been forced by the situation into temporally unemployment and to some their jobs are at a higher risk of disappearing because it doesn’t require special skill to be maintained by the employer for a certain unknown period until the pandemic is over or it is linked into a business ecosystem that has been hit the hardest, forcing the company to either cut the workforce and operations or even shut down until further notice.

1st June is my birthday, which is a special day for me not only because it’s the day I was born, but also more important because it is the date I do an annual self-evaluation, celebrate achievements and set new goals. Yesterday I had a deep dive into evaluating my past two years in the world of work, especially as a job seeker and self-employed while also putting into consideration what’s happening in the country giving a general outlook.

At this rate of uncertainty, many jobs are at the highest threats of diminishing if it isn’t happening already and I have come to learn what it means to be in an essential work force during a crisis, my work has been cut out of the bracket, leaving me with the biggest test for survival after all the youth spaces where I offer on-site training services were shut down to an unspecified time.

Online would be a great avenue to explore, but there are many factors to consider whereby in some areas as per my situation analysis doesn’t provide best business case, especially by not having any subscriptions to break even while I empathize with what my target group are going through. We need to live in the present with the future in mind and sometimes we need to take small baby steps into a new life making sure we learn out of our situations.

Below the self-evaluation exercise which is part of my annual routine, especially during my birthday, if you like it crown it! I want to share with you five important areas that I consider important if you need to know as a self-employed or you want to pursue job opportunities as an employee in the wake of a ‘melting’ economy and uncertainty in all the sector. -

Here we go! 

1. What do I know?
 - Think about your areas of expertise, skill and knowledge.

2. What do I need to learn?
 - What are the must learn skills in my chosen sector.
 - What gaps do I need to address?

3. Who do I know?
 - Your network comes handy to offer guidance, opportunities, support and referrals.

 4. How good am I at what I do?
 - As much as you can carry a self-score card the best analysis is through external testimonials, resume, contracts, mentor’s feedback and portfolio of work done.

 5. How does my career pathway look like?
 - Are you within the essential service sector should a crisis arise?
 - What about evolution and disruption of new technology would you still survive?
 - Which way to take, the hybrid or master of one path?
 - Does your chosen career promote self-employment?


 I believe there’s a lot to learn and share after the pandemic, use the moment to reflect, learn and strategize while you’re still on your feet with the greatest hope that this pandemic will end soon. I’m looking forward to sharing my learned lessons post COVID with a class of youth groups under skill-up sessions. I'm obeying all the directive; stay at home, wash your hands, social spacing, etc. On my business model I can’t do the usual routines from community soccer initiative and the on-site training for the youth, which means I have been automatically been forced from self-employed into unemployment taking me back to drawing board at the center being self-evaluation and strategies moving forward.

 Inspiration quote;

 " If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward." - Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Seven Things To Learn About Talents.

Talents have life span, some can live within us till we die while others have a certain period of time before they become obsolete. On the other hand talent can be discovered in you at any age or stage depending with many factors from either social, economical or environmental exposures. One of my talents was playing soccer which I realized after being exposed into the soccer scene at an early age by my late father who was a great sportsman (he played hockey and soccer) and later in life nurtured by Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) from the age of 12 years. At MYSA I was lucky to be chosen to participate in Norway cup in 1997,98 and 99.

Norway was a life changing experience but at the same time raising anxiety of the unknown future especially in soccer which in Kenya isn't at the level of Norway. I developed big dreams and passion of playing for professional clubs abroad and even though I did achieve a lot from the local scene during my prime days many other things didn't come to pass in achieving my big dreams especially playing for professional clubs. At some point the energy, passion, dreams and talent expired and diminished in thin air either because of factors like frustration, disappointments, injuries, no pay, career prospects, age, new opportunities etc.

One thing I have come to understand about talents they come with expiry dates attached to them. So if you discover a talent in you take note of the below seven points;

  1.  Nature it by learning other skills. 
  2. Get a mentor to walk with you through the journey. 
  3. Monetize it by thinking of business model ideas around your talent. 
  4.  Allow yourself to learn and grow at your own pace as you study your competition. 
  5. Plan ahead, what else can you do once the talent expires. 
  6. Talent is in born while a skill can be learned. So spare time to learn about self and strive to be the best version of YOU. Learn your peak and low seasons etc. 
  7.  Understand your talent and place it within an ecosystem. You can't work in isolation no matter how unique your talent. Think if it's within sports, creative arts, training delivery etc

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Use your NOW to create your WOW!

Life... #LifeSeries #MaishaMtaani #StoryYangu #YouthSpace #InspirationMoment

Use your NOW to create your WOW! I have interacted with many young people during my skill up sessions in the past years and majority have great desire to achieve their dreams and reach the optimal levels of their definition of success.

One of the challenges they experience is dealing with their current situation what I call the NOW towards achieving a certain result that I call the WOW as a result of GOAL SETTING. Some of the valuable moments you can keep keen attention can be the network, time, your story, values, occupation etc that if you strategically align towards forming a solid personal brand you will definitely be close to your WOW which can mean success, comfort, impact, etc.

If you think of your life journey as a long term investment you will start to AVOID THE QUICK FIX MENTALITY. You will start to draw the journey at any given opportunity on how you see things from today, tomorrow and the future.

Life is a marathon not a sprint! As much as we try to do our best and be at our best by preparing for any uncertainty there still exist many things that we can't predict during the course. To have a peace and pace of mind sometimes you allow yourself to go through the course at your own speed no matter what position your will take at the finishing line.