Do you feel like your career is messed up?

Fam,

Today, and like other days, we are going to keep it real. Miss Independent Blog is dedicated to creating a platform where my audience can take a break from the corporate politics. No pretending. No putting up a strong face. Just facts, raw feelings and acknowledging how we truly see ourselves at this point of our careers.

Do you feel like your career is messed up? If YES, then you are in luck. Here is a bullshit free blog post for you. I know I don’t use curse words on my blog, but I feel the word “bullshit” was necessary to drive the point home. The corporate world is full of politics and constant analysis of colleagues you can or can’t trust. In order to break from what can end up being a toxic experience, I am going to be a blogger you can trust with your career.

First things first, I am not going to rush your healing or growth. If you feel your career is messed up, FEEL IT. My audience ranges from 18-30 year olds, which means there is another 30+ years to revamp your career. At 30 you can start all over again and MAKE IT HAPPEN. So I am not going to make you feel bad because you feel like your career is messed up, feelings are valid and we are going to acknowledge them on the blog today.

I have felt like my career was messed up. I cried and when I stopped crying, I developed anxiety. I would go home for Christmas expecting to magically be happy but there was something missing. Don’t get me wrong, being at home made a huge difference. I was comforted and extremely loved. Thing is, people can only give you so much joy, but they can’t give you what you need to give yourself – and that’s the piece I want to address on the blog today.

To compensate for my uninspiring feeling, I started investing in assets. I told myself that if I started building an empire, I would eventually start feeling more confident about my career. I bought very strategic shares and land, but sadly, the uninspiring feeling didn’t reduce. Even after knowing that I can sell my land double the amount I bought it at in less than 6 months, I still felt like my career was messed up. So what next?

My Brother encouraged me again to pursue My Masters. This is something he had always encouraged me to do but I didn’t follow through because my self-esteem was still pretty high. 2 years later things had changed and I needed to boost my self-esteem. I went online and searched for courses in Ireland and long-story short, I was accepted at Trinity Business School for a Masters in Digital Marketing Strategy. Just to put this into perspective, I paid $10,000 for my first year of fees hoping that I will eventually stop feeling like my career is messed up.

I hope that doesn’t come across like I am flossing, I just want to highlight how expensive self-esteem can cost.  This is why plastic surgery doctors are cashing out like politicians. And for those thinking “you felt like your career is messed up yet you could afford to pay $10,000 for your fees?” – I will just say this – it’s not about the money and if you knew the full story, you wouldn’t judge me like that. I’m not ready to share the story yet, so for now, let’s work with what I’ve learnt from it.

Truth be told, my self-esteem increased with each day I went to school. I mean obviously I just didn’t go to school to only boost my self-esteem, it was a strategic course to compliment my job and what I want to pursue in future. When I started applying my course at work, I felt better than I was, and that began reducing the uninspiring feeling. Personally I am motivated by growth and school has tremendously increased my knowledge base in a way that continues to make me much better for my current and future roles.

Okay so self-esteem was steadily rising, what next?

 

I pressed pause on investments. I was saving but I decided not to think about what I was going to do with the money. School made me realize that investing in my brain was a much better choice in terms of boosting self-esteem because this was something I was consuming internally. I was investing in my self, in my brain. So I decided I needed to invest in my heart and emotional well-being. Investing in land, real state etc was now a distraction and I needed space to just do me.

It’s been about 3 months without having to think how to multiply my money and I have a learnt the following as a result:

  • Screw it, enjoy Life: I learnt how to worry less about being financially secure. I am 25, I could literally start all over again and make even more money. I can do it, I am freaking Miss Independent, you know I can make money if I want to. When I went home about 2 weeks ago, I spent more than I have ever spent, yet this is the year I have made the least amount of money. I came to US with two suitcases, one with my clothes and the other one empty because I intend to splurge on new clothes, shoes and anything that tickles my fancy. I am not saying that I am now misusing my investment fund, no, I have already talked about how I save on my Youtube channel. Go watch it and you will understand why splurging doesn’t mean I won’t have money to invest. All I am saying is that I am not going to miss an opportunity to enjoy Life because I am investing. You are only in your 20s once, you better enjoy them!

 

  • Instead of feeling like my career is messed up, no one can tell me anything: Talk about self-esteem that is about to win an Emmy! We allow dream killers to make us feel like trash yet the only thing we should allow them to do is to heal.  Refuse to take their negative energy and pray for their healing. It’s important to first feel like no one can tell you anything! I consider it the first step of healing after a traumatic experience with dream killers. Dude, you are in control of your career 100% and unless you don’t believe in yourself, I don’t see why you should feel like your career is messed up.I also don’t think it’s possible to empower the right people if you can’t empower yourself first.The right people can’t help you if you can’t help yourself. Therefore, it’s time for you to start feeling like Kanye! Kanye-ing, issa plan!

 

  • Take a humble seat and acknowledge you need help: No man is an island and sometimes Life will present tough challenges. I seek comfort in knowing God can’t give you what you can’t handle. Plus anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But here is the thing, there is a time to be Kanye and there is a time to ask for help. Rely on good people, trust me, they enjoy adding value in other people’s lives. Reach out to people who know more than you, acknowledge you don’t know anything and you are open to learn. I actually didn’t ask for help, it came to me. She is literally the best person I have met in my entire career, some people are truly God-sent. She taught me to continuously be okay with asking for help and relying on people, which can be something hard to learn especially after an encounter with dream killers who teach you not to trust anyone. There are good people out there, find them, and most importantly, be one!

 

  • Emotional well-being and high self-esteem is important if you want to make money: I always thank low-self esteem Miss I for buying shares, land and taking us to school. Guess what, I just finished my first year of school and my course is ranked 13th best globally. Low-self esteem Miss I smashed it, she really tried given her circumstances. But high self esteem Miss I is back and  y’all better be ready to call me “Miss Landlady at 26.” And no,  I am not into real estate because I need to boost my self-esteem, but because I believe I am freaking badass and I can do awesome stuff! You need to believe in yourself first in order to make money, not the other way round. And if you have low-self esteem, go to school and once your self-esteem starts feeling better, try as much as possible to feel like Kanye until your believe in yourself.

While I am still in the same situation that made me feel like my career is messed up, I no longer feel like that. Funny enough God has been cracking me up. I am currently writing this blog post in a hotel room in California, Mountain View, United States of America. Wow, from writing blog posts in Kikuyu to writing blog posts in America’s most expensive city. When I was younger I thought I would be going to US when I am a powerful lady, but here I am completely unaware of what’s next for my career. It’s like God is telling me: “Those challenges are just a BTW. Stop thinking they are tough yet I have taken you to Nigeria, Kenya, US in the times you would describe as the toughest points of your career. Enjoy Life Esther, I got you, trust me.”

And as I trust God and in My Family’s encouraging words, I recognize that I should share my journey with my readers. It’s not easy being vulnerable like this publicly, so many concerns pop in my head when I think about the ill-intentioned people that will read this. Sometimes I worry that people won’t want to be associated with me because I share too much, and ironically I am doing it for the benefit of others but myself. But you have trust in God and He knows I am doing this with the best intentions. If being a good person presents challenges for me, I will just do me and get married to a person that will always understand this aspect about me.

I was reflecting with my Dad this morning and I want to end this blog post with a quote he shared with me! P.S My Dad is awesome, I just love him so much. He is literally my everything, like I don’t know how to explain. My Dad is the reason I am who I am. And then he married this awesome woman, My Mum, who I describe as My Life. My Mum is the reason why I cried when I encountered a dream killer, I felt sad that her daughter was being treated unfairly. I love myself more when I look at myself as My Mum’s daughter! Just writing this paragraph made me feel so much better.  Learn to count your blessings and you will soon realize there is nothing to worry about.

Below are the last words the Late Dr.Geoffrey W. Griffin told his boys before he succumbed to colon cancer!

Managing anxiety and 3 career tips!

Fam,

Today is one of those days when I feel FREE and in control of my emotions. I’ve been feeling a lot more like that lately, but not naturally, I had to work on it VERY HARD.

I was in Naivasha last week with my high school best friend and other really good people that I value so much. We arrived there on Thursday and guys I can’t explain the mad time we had. It was awesome and to be honest there is no point trying to narrate the experience because you just needed to be there to understand.

So by Friday evening I started getting some anxiety. If am brutally honest the only alcohol left was beer and since I prefer to go the Russian way with some hard liquor, I was quite sober. Being sober in this case meant being aware of how happy I was in that moment, but then my brain decided to get it twisted and started freaking out about what’s next for my career.

So obviously I start getting irritated because I am like “now why in the freaking Naivasha awesome vibes would anxiety decide to kick in now? All I want is to have a great time with my friends. I am leaving on Sunday and this is literally the only time I have with them until we are back in the same country. Arrrrrrgggghhhhh, A.N.X.I.E.T.Y why?

There is a story behind my anxiety. I’ve been through a lot guys and I guess you are probably thinking – well anyone can say that, what’s unique about your situation? I think the first thing I want to address is that we should never compare anyone’s pain, everyone with their journey.

I am honest about my challenges because I meet people who tell me things like – “I wish I had your Life” and I often wonder if they are aware of the tough battles I am fighting behind the scenes. In hindsight, I have learnt to count my blessings, and if they had My Life, they would thank God countless times. I am just not sure if they have the capacity to fight my battles, food for thought!

Here is the thing, we were never taught to anticipate tough challenges in the work place, which we all come to learn is a standard experience. You are indeed lucky when you don’t have challenges and ideally the dream is to work smart so that you are surrounded by amazing colleagues. That’s the dream, right? But the reality on the ground is that there are more than enough roadblocks, causing anxiety, depression and other mental/emotional issues amongst the African youth today.

I am definitely not an expert in managing anxiety, but I have most certainly gone through anxious moments which led to really bad panic attacks. I am a strong woman, at least that’s what people tell me, so before I am down on the floor having a panic attack, just know that there is something up and I am doing my best to deal with the situation. I feel like I am literally scaring you right now with what’s going in with my Life, but don’t be, it’s shaped me to be stronger and better.

I wasn’t going NOT to have fun in Naivasha because of anxiety. I was tired of anxiety controlling me randomly and I was determined to overcome it sooner than later. So what I did is that I chose to sleep for an hour, took a hot shower after and joined my friends in the dance and just being happy. That was the first time I managed to control my anxiety, and it started by not fighting it. I read online that you shouldn’t fight it because it causes more anxiety. Since I wasn’t about to tolerate my anxious self, I chose to sleep it off , shower and quite frankly it worked.

I am not saying this is something that will work for you. I am just sharing my journey, how I handled it an anxious moment and hopefully that will inspire you to find something that works for you. I believe some of these things is just about finding what works for you, which is all that matters at the end of the day. Now as for career tips, I believe as African youth, bulk of our anxiety issues are influenced by worries around careers.

These are the 3 career tips I would share with you today

  • You actually have 100% control of your career: Many a times we are caught up believing that other people are in control of our careers, be it your managers or colleagues. Which in essence is totally absurd because you are literally the one person that has 100% control. And here is the thing, I know sometimes you can be like “but my manager is the one that can promote me“. Look, if you don’t get promoted, that doesn’t mean that you can’t quit and look for another role that will help you shine and exude that awesome person you believe you are.

 

  • Believe in the spirit of abundance: So this is a follow up from the first career tip. I understand that it’s not easy to just quit your job and get the one that fits your preferences immediately. And this is made worse if you factor in that you have invested so much in a particular role/company – you are probably more likely to compromise on personal well being and happiness as you pray for that promotion or appraisal. I get it and I’ve been there. What’s interesting is that I was literally pushed to the edge of the cliff where I could not rely on anything but myself. I have been forced to take a step back and reflect on what I have that can help me get to that next stage. That process involved thinking big, not limiting myself to the bubble I was forced to burst out of. Don’t think that you can’t be successful without your company, YOU CAN!

 

  • Ask for help: Shit will hit the fan in some stages of your career and this is the time to ask for help. It’s important that you also help others help you. Be clear and concise about the issue and how exactly you think they can help you. Always remember to communicate that you are open to new solutions you hadn’t explored before. Be cautious who you seek help from, not everyone is there for you. The good news is that there are amazing people out there and they are more than happy to walk with you, even if that just means sharing their wisdom!

Battling Low Self-Confidence?

Fam,

After laughs, good food with my mentor he asked me “what happened to the girl I met 4 years ago?

Within the first few seconds I thought he was going to say someone else’s name and then it hit me – he meant Miss I!

Right there and then I started crying!

I always look at this picture and I wonder if I will ever go back to this lady.

When I stopped blogging I was hoping I could get my confidence back so that I can continue sharing inspirational stories with my audience. 1 year passed, 2 years and now it’s 2018 and I still feel worse than I did when I stopped blogging. I meet people that know me as Miss I and they give me the look of “this confident, go-getter lady” and I always wish I could see myself in their eyes.

My confidence has been affected by external factors which is a story for another day. It’s important I mention that because naturally we are confident people, we are just influenced by situations around us. It’s an on-going process. One person does something that hurts you and just when you think you will have a break another person disappoints you in ways worse than the previous person. And the vicious cycle continues, decreasing your self-confidence with time.

I tried to compensate for my low self-confidence through investments. After I bought land I really waited to hold the title deed. I was hoping that when I see it with my own eyes and hold it with my own hands – I will feel a little more confident. When I finally held my title deed, things didn’t go as planned.  Can’t necessarily say I felt worse, or better – I just remember learning that you can’t buy confidence.

Don’t get me wrong, I bought the land because I also want to accumulate assets. I was just hoping that the by-product would be more confidence. But I’ve soon come to realize no amount of money and assets can make you confident. It sure can grant you the right to care less, and by that a lot of things will stop bothering you unnecessarily. When less things bother you, your confidence is less jeopardized. I mean you can do whatever you want, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

However, my confidence did increase when I started my Masters at Trinity Business School. First of all I was paying for myself fees in a European University. Not once in my Life did I ever think that I would afford that at 25. I remember in high school my classmates would discuss all these amazing international universities they planned to enroll in. I didn’t even try to dream of a scholarship in these schools, it just wasn’t a dream I could afford to have. I was wrong, because guess who just finished her 1st year at Trinity Business School – ME!

It felt nice paying for my school fees because it meant believing in myself which I am struggling to feel a lot more often. I am actually eager to pay for my second year fees because it’s just a confidence boost to see that I have continuously believed in myself to finish my Masters degree. It’s not a sustainable confidence boost model, but at least it’s a start. If you are struggling with low self-esteem/self-confidence, take yourself to school. Confidence comes from within, and investing in your knowledge will 100% increase your confidence levels.

After I dropped my mentor home I thought to myself that may be I should share this rough patch with my readers. I bet I am not the only battling with low self-confidence. I’ve received a couple of great comments on my CV article. People are really impressed with what I have managed to achieve thus far. But I don’t see myself in the eyes of my readers, and that’s a big challenge that I need to overcome.

Lastly, please don’t see me as a victim. That is the last thing I need. Truth be told I have been a victim for the last 2 years. Those that know my story tell me I’m the strongest person they have ever met. What you need to understand is that continuous fighting gets really tiring and eventually self-confidence gets affected in the long-run.  But even then, I don’t need anyone’s pity. After all, I am only a victim in one sphere of my Life. I count my blessings, and the last time I checked, they outweigh the rough patch I am in.

Things happen for a reason. May be God wanted me to know what low self-confidence is so that I am in a better position to inspire my audience. When I was blogging I was in a constant high – awards after awards, interviews after interviews and everyone including myself could see that I am acing it in Life. You know what they say, success is not end, it’s standing up each time you fall.

I consider publishing this blog post exposing my vulnerability me standing up after the great falls I’ve had since 2017. I don’t know if I will go back to the Miss I we all knew in 2014. May be I am the same person, perhaps better. I really don’t know and I don’t want to rush the reflection, I will however share the journey with you. What I know for sure is that I should love myself the same, whether I have high or low self-confidence – workin on that!

I hope my vulnerability inspires you to stand up each time you fall.