I was seated with a friend; a lady thirty years older than me (By the way, having older friends is one of the secrets to better growth no joke) and during our conversation about my career journey, I blurted out my thoughts aloud with a sulky face, “I don’t even know what I’m doing with my life.” She looked at me with an astonished face, “Do you even know how lucky you are that you got to start your dream journey so early?!”
So she went on to tell me her own personal story on how she quit her job after working there for 19 long years to pursue her goals. It was a crazy move because she was getting really good pay but decided to let it all go so she can do something she is passionate about. I just sat there with WOW written all over my face because she wasn’t someone you’d think struggled that much to be where she is. You know, the kind of people with a high intelligence, great network, wonderful resume, a name and an identity that makes her very respected. And it just marveled me so much because it just confirmed to me what I’ve always thought; that when you see someone you look up to and consider successful, do know they also had to sweat their way up to where they are.
Sometimes, I am sure of what I’m doing, I’m sure it is the right thing, I’m sure this is what I want until someone just comes out of nowhere to remind me what the society expects. So the narrow path the society expects you to follow is Primary school-Secondary school-University-Get a job-Get married-Do your masters-Have children etc etc and this path isn’t always fixed like this. Sometimes one thing comes before another. Like some get married before university, some do masters before they have children and all that. But then in the end, it is all about this common steps of life people expect you to do in life such that when you step out of the ‘system’, something is very wrong with you. It doesn’t make sense why you’d choose the far and wide path yet everyone else is taking the long and narrow one.
Anyway, as we went on with our conversation, my friend said, “Let me tell you something someone I consider my mentor told me when I informed her I am quitting my job. She said to me, ‘My girl, people will laugh at you. They will think you are crazy. They will say a lot of things, but just go for it. Go after what you are passionate about. THE MONEY WILL COME. Slowly, you’ll start getting clients and you will be fine.” So now I’m telling you the same thing. The money will come. It may be a long-term sacrifice and struggle but I believe you will break it through sooner or later in shaa Allah…”
What I’ve learnt is that the criticisms will never stop. You will remain a mystery because people just don’t understand what you are doing. You will make a lot of sacrifices. You will be BROKE. Did I say BROKE? Yes, you will come face to face with poverty. You will question your choices over and over again because those who took the long, narrow path are succeeding and leading good, comfortable lives. Your friends and age mates are already fulfilling their life ‘expectations’ while you are still trying to figure out who to approach to help you with this new project you want to do or who you can borrow some cash from so you can implement this other new idea. And people will think, ‘This one is always trying a new idea’. It will become hilarious for everyone, sometimes including you. You will be tempted to just settle for anything that comes your way and say, ‘At least I tried.’ Please don’t. You didn’t come this far to quit now. Not this time. Not in ever.
After that conversation, the phrase ‘The money will come’ kept ringing in my mind. Not because the money is the main objective of going after my dreams, but because it would mean I have finally reached the level of being the achiever I want to be. And I wanted to share this with you because I know I am not alone. The free spirits amongst us who are hungry to lead exceptional lives. So here I am telling it to you, ‘All these sacrifices you are making now? They will pay off. Everything will fall into place if you keep walking. Look at the horizon; the long-term benefit not what is just ahead of you. And yes…the money will come! In shaa Allah. And i’m leaving this with you so you can pass it forward to anyone who needs to hear it.
Dare to be different. Be unique, be brilliant. And keep praying. Someday, you will be real proud of yourself and your journey.
A toast to all the go-getters!