Choosing your career


Choosing a career can be a difficult process for a lot of people. Recently, I coached a lady, who is almost 60 years old and her story got me close to tears.


When I finished my high school many people tried to influence me, I clearly remember I was nearly convinced to join the police force
When I finished my high school many people tried to influence me, I clearly remember I was nearly convinced to join the police force

She narrated how she has been a teacher for most of her life. Although she did not enjoy the trade, but because her parents told her to train for that, she had no option, but to end up a teacher. This came after I had asked her a critical question on how she would like to spend the rest of her life.

Many could be in this lady’s shoes, doing what they were not born to do. If I may repeat that question: What would you want to spend the rest of your life doing? What would you want to be remembered for when you die? Or, if you die now, what will you be remembered for? Or what impact are you making in people’s lives?

What’s that thing you do without a struggle? What is that thing you would do even when you are not paid to do it? What is that thing that when you do you get fulfilment and you have this “Aha” moment?

How schools might have killed dreams

At times, our dreams are killed by the very people that we have given our children to, teachers. As children, we have no power to choose what we want. As a result, our dreams begin to be killed at a tender age. The worst thing that I have seen happening is when one goes to Advanced Level and the school chooses for them, which subjects are going to do.

Things could be happening because of set systems. Students should be given the liberty to choose their subjects.
What is chosen for them will somehow shape or determine what they will do at university.

For example, I still remember, at school I did well in Agriculture and Geography, but I had never dreamt of being an agriculturist or geologist. My passion was in writing and speaking and not even a single teacher picked that up.

Alone, I knew deep inside that I was supposed to be a journalist or do something related to radio, television or writing. I was so blessed because I knew this at a tender age.

When I finished my high school, many people tried to influence me, I clearly remember I was nearly convinced to join the police force.

When I think of that, I usually laugh because it’s an extremely different world. This other time, I applied for a job at Mpilo Central Hospital, and I succeed in interviews and landed the job. When the offer letter for the job came, something in me said no! I didn’t go to work.

That was not my passion. Lastly, because I was so desperate and I needed something to do, I applied to train as a teacher and I still remember sitting in front of a panel being interviewed. Thank God, I did not get the place.

Today, I am doing my passion. I have never regretted and I will never regret. I look forward to going to work every day. I’m passionate about what I do! When you pursue your dreams, you work ceases to be a job where you look for a salary, but it becomes your fulfilment, value addition, and significance.

Last week, I introduced to the followers of this column, what I crafted as a SIP Model of Success. Let’s use it as a tool to make a career choice:

The SIP Model of Success

If you are not doing your life’s purpose, you could be in misery. It’s like the analogy of a train that tries to travel off its rails. For everyone to be effective, they should not waste time on other things, but walk in their true passion. I have created a “purpose finding” model called the SIP Model.

The “S” stands for strengths. We are all endowed with unique talents and gifts. These unique traits make us stand-out and be different. Now, as a starting point, I want you to think, get your journal and make a list of all your natural talents. What comes to you naturally, without a struggle? It could be painting, drawing, singing, writing, wood carving and sculpturing, the list is endless. Write it down now and let’s take on a new journey to your discovery.

Steven R Covey says: “The power to discover your voice lies in the potential that was bequeathed you at birth.
Latent and undeveloped, the seeds of greatness were planted. You were given magnificent “birth-gifts” — talents, capacities, privileges, intelligences, opportunities — that would remain largely unopened except through your own decision and effort.

“Open these gifts. Learn what taps your talents and fuels your passion — that rises out of a great need in the world that you feel drawn by conscience to meet — therein lies your voice, your calling, your soul’s code.”

“I” stands for interests. What would you love to spend the rest of your life doing? There is that special thing that your inner being longs to do even when you are not paid. What skills do you need to be effective? What training would you need to do?

Now take your journal again, think of all possible skills, and trainings you will need. Have you realised that we are marrying your talents with the skills you need? You might be talented in drawing, but a computer skill in computer drawing might be needed? You might be a great business person, but you need a skill on how to clearly calculate your financial in-flows and out-flows.

Simply put, marry your passion to your career. In my book, Inspiration for Success I wrote: “Pursue your passion until people start to pay you for it. At times you do not need to pursue opportunities, but you must be the opportunity that some people are looking for.”

“P” stands for profit. What benefit (or profit) do your strengths and interests have to people? We are here on earth to make a difference and add value to humanity. When your value meets a need (which is usually called problem solving for others), people will find ways on how to pay you willingly. Most people do the opposite; they hunt for money expecting to get fulfilment and riches.

Money is a magnet, it is attracted not hunted for. If you hunt for money, you might not get it. But if you attract it through your passion, it comes easily and at times without you even sweating. You don’t need to perspire in a career that you hate, to get your next penny. At times people might not notice your contribution, but work on it as long as you are making a positive input in someone’s life. You might not affect the whole world, but your effort matters to the whole world.

Discard the “job mentality”

Most people choose a career with a job in mind. Most people should stop reliance on jobs. Jobs are hard to get and most universities won’t tell you that. Instead, they will just train you for anything as it brings them money.

We don’t need to complain and blame the government for the jobs that are not available. The government’s major role is to create a conducive environment for individuals to be able to create more jobs by means of entrepreneurship.
The “job mentality”, at times, breeds lazy thinking.

Parting point: It is never too late! Neither is too early!

Are you walking in your true potential or purpose? What gives your life meaning and purpose? What are you good at? What do you love doing? How can you serve humanity? Have you wasted time in a career that was not meant to be yours?

It’s never too late; make your mind and make a wise change now.

Jonah Nyoni is an author, success coach and leadership trainer. He is the author of Inspiration for Success and Success Within Reach.

Email: Twitter @jonahnyoni

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