The guest blogger is back :-).
Right off the title. You can tell this was written by a millennial. We’re plagued with self-doubt day in day out. No wonder pharma companies are churning out antidepressants like KSLs. So here goes… How I feel right now. Can anyone relate?
I got home at 6 pm yesterday. I live in a small one bedroom. I like it. I spend around KES 25,000 on rent & utilities. I pay my electricity bill first and my WiFi bill second (duh!). It’s a sweet deal, I can save up, the building is clean and my neighbours are awesome. But last year when I moved in I said I was only going to be here for a year then I’d move on to something better. But I digress.
I got home at 6 pm yesterday, I put my bag down made some hot chocolate and lit a cigarette. I normally have these loud conversations with myself, the perks of living by yourself :). I pretended I was being interviewed about my company, in the middle of my amazingly punctuated words I said something that surprised me, ‘I always want to be anybody else other than me.’ I was silent for a minute, I couldn’t believe I had said that out loud, I looked around to make sure my walls weren’t judging me. I was judging me.
The statement was in direct conflict with who I believe myself to be, tough, proud and selfish to a fault. To be selfish you must love yourself more than anything…right? Or is being selfish choosing yourself even when you don’t love yourself? I settled on that. Conflict resolved. Why don’t I want to be me?
I’m 25, I turn 26 in a month. I have a small circle of friends who I communicate with on a daily basis. Okay, I won’t lie. I have two friends in my small circle, don’t judge. I have a job that pays fairly well. I work with an amazing team, I have a good title. I’ve never tarmacked for a job nor gotten fired. I get poached. My parents are good, by definition I’m OK.
But I have an ache deep inside me, I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. I’ve always wanted to start my own business. I’ve known this ever since I was in class one, the goal has been the same even though the timelines have changed. There was a markup. I wanted to start my business at 24 but I had so much going on at the time, so I shelved it to 26. The goal was to gain the much-needed experience before I ventured out on my own. I decided to work with startups. For those who work at startups, you know it’s all about accumulating knowledge in a short span of time.
So far, I’ve worked at three startups. The next question you’d automatically ask is, “Now that you have all this knowledge have you started?”
I have..sort of. I’ve begun the registration process and I am currently working on building my website but the actual work…hasn’t even begun. So comes in the title of the article. Do I want it bad enough?
I’m at that stage where I can’t bear to wait anymore but I’m afraid that I won’t know what to do.
Afraid. Not a term many who know me would associate with me.
During the day, I think about my company and the wonderful work I’ll do. I make the decision that once I go home, I’ll work on my plan for about 2 hours.
I get home and decide to watch a documentary, I tell myself, I just worked all day, I deserve a palette cleanser. So I watch a documentary. I tell myself it’s constructive because it’s educational. The documentaries are an hour long. After an hour, I’m hungry. I can’t work on an empty stomach so I make dinner. I tell myself I need some entertainment to go along with it, so I watch an episode of Orange is the New Black, by the time I’m done it’s 9 pm and all I want to do is sleep because I have to be up at 5:45 am. I work on my tasks for the next day for my 9-5 job. I tell myself, at least I did something. Then I sleep. I wake up, feel the pain of not working on my plan last night. I vow to do it this time. I get home and the cycle repeats itself.
I did this for a while until I woke up on Madaraka Day 2017 to buy breakfast at my nearest kiosk at 10 am. My shop guy was up, all the businesses on my street were open. The men who work at a garage a few meters from my house were on the job. It hit me, I have one income! And I’m not doing enough!
I hadn’t brought myself to think about it until then. It hit me like a cold wind and my mind started racing. What would I do with myself if my job wasn’t available to me anymore? What if I was fired? What if they closed down the company? What would I do? Would I starve to death? Because there’s no way am I going back to my parents’ house. That is literally the last option.
I went back to my house and broke down into tears. All these people had the drive to wake up on a public holiday to work. Yet my plan was always the same, catching up on the shows I didn’t watch over the week. Pathetic! I know. I thought about how stupid I was, how unprepared I was. How life would pass me by unless I did something about it. Most importantly I figured out why I feel so much pain. I know what I have to do and I’m not doing it. I don’t want to be me because if anyone else had my education, my brain, my knowledge, my privilege, they’d have done something about it. Then I got angry.
I made a plan. A five-year plan. I hadn’t done one in years. After my dream of starting my company at 24 was shattered, I stopped planning. Planning for over 15 years and having my plan not work out nearly broke me. I knew the reason that I had been so successful before was that I always had a plan and I always stuck to it. In fact, I was obsessive about missing a deadline. So I made my five-year plan, broke it down to yearly targets and goals, broke it down further to a monthly plan, and down further to weekly targets and goals. I felt better.
I went on Linkedin looking for job advertisements for consultants in the field I wanted to go into and started writing proposals and sending them out. *Crickets*. No one got back to me, but I felt good. So I started refining my proposals. Once again I had an AHA! moment.
I was afraid that I wasn’t good enough and the answer I got was, of course, I’m not! But the more I do it, the better I get.
I’m not afraid of that anymore, and most days I still want to be anyone else other than me, but it does not weigh heavily on me as it did. I’ve gotten that little bit of push, that little bit of hope that it can work out.
Some days I get home and watch that documentary. Other days I work on my plan for two hours. I’ve learnt that I can do it, and what’s now left is discipline. Fanatic discipline.
My journey has begun.