By Nafula Kisiangani

“Hello, how are you doing? It’s Ann (not the real name) the lady you helped to prepare for an…interview… I would like us to meet up. I really need to talk to somebody. Especially right now that I feel like the world is on my shoulders having graduated last year December and now facing realities of life”

I met Ann once in one of the forum I was guest speaking, to young incredible leaders and I can attest that she is a gem of a young woman who is determined to create impact.

Her message took me a few years back, to my life immediately after campus. By third year, I had visualized the usual corporate employment wasn’t my cup of tea but then there was peer pressure and lack of exposure to relevant options. Volunteer services and leadership spaces in campus had exposed me to the joy of creating direct impact in people’s lives; this is what I wanted to continue doing.

Fortunately, through my interactions, I encountered two classmates who had a similar passion and fear. We formed a team. In a society with already formulated templates, you must create social support to survive. We had to find a way out and to define our path. We decided to be sister’s keepers and vowed to be accountable to one another. We formed a support team and decided to go for a road trip to Central Kenya to stamp this. We had fun, bonded with nature but most importantly, we made our vows and decided to focus on the path less travelled.

This meant that we had a lot to learn and to understand development models for us to design effective solutions to societal challenges and managing leadership obstacles. It was time to learn and unlearn, time for horizontal growth.

We achieved this through volunteering, aligning ourselves to mentors, attending free trainings, joining support networks and applying for capacity building sessions both locally and globally. As Paulo Coelho puts it;

“When you want something, the world conspires to help you achieve it”

There came so many opportunities and we kept grabbing them. Our focus was more on learning and gaining relevant skills. We forewent a lot of luxuries. This meant financial struggle.

Darling, to survive you must focus on yourself and stop comparing yourself to others. You need peace of mind. Align yourself to people who share your vision to avoid any destruction.  Often, we are frustrated because we are comparing ourselves to our peers.

Reduce your budget; you can decide to stay with a friend or relatives. Be creative in generating some little income that can sustain you while you polish your path. I remember being an errand girl to some of my mentors; some people are good in academic writing, pursue it. Here, it’s about surviving. There is no elevator to success, you must use stairs. Avoid shortcuts, they are short-lived. Protect your sanity because it is going to be mentally draining, practice self-care and establish your way. If it was easy, everyone would be opting for it.

Don’t focus on the obstacles, focus on your goal.  Persist, set the right attitude. A day at a time! Make sure you are moving whether crawling, walking or flying. You must just keep going…

Nafula Kisiangani is Social Justice Advocate, Socialpreneur and a Mentor. Founder & CEO of Ubuntu Development Solutions

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