"Follow your dreams” is an inspirational mainstay: probably the most commonly expressed inspirational concept ever created.
It was somehow easy for me to answer this question; What do you want to be when you grow up?
My dream was to become a pilot. I love the art of flying, it was all based on the curiosity of how it feels to just leave the ground and fly…being close to the sky and see everything from above. I use to watch planes in the sky, I have to admit I still do it sometimes.
But guess what, I am neither a pilot nor working at the airport what so ever.
In my 16’s after being introduced to basketball, my pilot dream faded. I thought I'll make it to the NBA, little that I knew the chance to make it there is very minimal. Being Tall I guess I had quite a very fast transition from playing just in school teams to represent my region in the national basketball league in 2013. I was not even close to a complete basketball player but I had huge responsibilities, I played alongside talented, passionate and very competitive teammates.
When I learnt that my NBA dream is merely a wish, and I was not late to chase my original dream of being a pilot, I decided to study Physics, Geography and Maths in my pre-advance studies which I ended dropping in few weeks after I had issues deriving the second projectile law of motion in my physics class.
This is my story, and I believe is just one story in thousands. I believe the majority at some point have been to that place. Do you remember all those kids growing up wishing to become; A doctor, An Engineer, A teacher…
For many of us we are not who we wished or dreamt to be, does this means, “growing up” has meant outgrowing our dreams? For me, the answer is No. I believe we have hundreds of people out there who are currently living their childhood dreams but not practising their childhood career job. One example is me; I still consider myself as a Pilot.
While starting this article, I said "Follow your dreams” is an inspirational mainstay: probably the most commonly expressed inspirational concept ever created. As we grew up these childhood dreams came with many “but’s”, I know some of those are not valid excuses, and that is the clear illustration that shows it takes a lot of courage to follow your childhood dream BUT I feel we need to contextualize it in our own context…and reality. Especially when you are in a country where most of the dreams fail before you even step in your first class.
Being part of the generation that is motivated by future plans and aspirations to live their dreams or to land in a dream job, it is very important to understand that we can learn a lot from those dreams and relate to what we are currently doing. In the context of our work and life, our dreams are the visions and images we have for ourselves and our future, as we would like it to be.
Then the question is, how can you associate with your childhood dream?
This made me reflect on my career journey and day-to-day activities in the broader context of life in general. Wondering if my career today and the time I spend on it lives up to my childhood dreams.
After much thought, my answer to HOW? we can associate with our childhood dreams, is to simply find aspiration and connection between what we wished to become and who we are now. Drawing values or skills from our dream jobs and connect or apply them in our career.
When writing this article, it was purely from my own experience, as I was reading more I came across very powerful advice from a LinkedIn career experts Nicole Williams who said; “If we can identify and understand the thinking and passion behind our childhood dream job, it can become the key to improving our performance and enjoyment of the jobs we currently do, even if they aren’t specific to the careers we dreamed of as kids.”
Take an example from my pilot dream, it taught me the art of imagination, risk-taking and sense of service. Have you watched pilots… They're always goal-oriented and disciplined. To be effective, they must project confidence and competence at all times. And, they know that if they screw up, they'll take other people down with them.
While doing what I do now I embody those values, talents and skills… It gave me a sense of passion and open some of the talents I did not think I had and most importantly it brings a sense of having fun and enjoys what am doing. And I believe it also influences my growth, creativity and productivity at my work.
Whilst most the youth today find themselves in careers that are monotonous and unfulfilling, you have the option to make a change. It may not be possible overnight, but it is possible. Go back and ask what did you want to be when you were younger and what does it reveal about your current job?
Wealth and financial security give us the courage to wake up every day and do what you do BUT to have a fulfilled life, we need to have a sense of purpose, a dream of what a good life might be. And we can still be the Doctors, Pilots, Teachers or Engineers we dreamt of becoming. It is all possible. We are never too old to associate ourselves with our childhood dream.
Let’s continue to dream with our eyes closed, but then live them with your eyes open :)
By Amani Shayo on 17 Sep 2020
By Amani Shayo on 14 Jul 2020