I looked at the picture above and felt so proud of the woman I have grown into. This picture sparked a number of emotions and took me back to 2015 when I first landed my legal internship position at a prestigious law firm. I remember exactly how I battled a number of emotions. I was happy because I didn’t fail the interview; nervous because I had never worked 8-5 job; sad because taking the job meant I would have to let go of something I loved doing, teaching music and blogging partly.
I was posted in Mombasa and I must say that that was one of the hardest times I’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong, the living conditions and other external factors were pretty much okay. It was extremely difficult to fight the internal battles I was having at the time. My main struggle was that I felt trapped; I felt like I wasn’t living my best life; I felt like I was living a lie by not living up to my biggest potential. I was unhappy and most of the time I actually cried myself to sleep because I really felt unfulfilled in life and with life.
One Sunday afternoon, I actually broke down as I listened to T.D Jakes’ sermon where he preached that we owe it to our God to live the best lives ever. We owe it to God, and not to our parents/friends or families generally, to do what he has put in us. Growing up, my first love was music. I loved music and gladly this part of me was nurtured when in high school. My first job right after high school was to teach kids music and French and throughout campus, I taught kids (and I still do) music theory and piano. This job gave me very little pocket money. I didn’t love it because of the money, I just loved it!! I would do it for free. I felt like I impacted on the lives of the little ones I interacted with. The business grew and I had a number of home students to teach. Taking up the internship meant that I could no longer teach the kids since I moved to Mombasa. A big part of me was missing.
Something else that I fell in love with was the art of blogging. Blogging has always given me an avenue to express myself and in a way, touch someone’s life out there. At the time I took up the internship deal, I was into fashion blogging with a friend of mine and moving out of town resulted to giving blogging a back seat. So in a way, I gave that up too.
I was sad. I was frustrated. I was doing work I totally hated. I cried almost every day because I felt trapped in the wrong job. I remember writing an email to myself and promising myself in that I had to make a change, that I owed it to myself and to my God to find my purpose and live the best life possible. Four months later, I quit internship, not because I found something better, but because I needed to figure out my next move. (No one told me that this meant I’d be broke for a while hahaha)
‘No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams’ Maya Mendoza
I made a decision to join the Kenya School of Law because I just wanted to finish and I also needed to keep myself busy as I find my purpose. It was till April 2016 that an idea dawned on me to start this blog. I had done a lot of soul searching and watched many YouTube clips geared towards helping me find my purpose. I can proudly say that I am in a very happy place. I love what I do. Blogging has opened up opportunities for me that I never imagined. (I actually didn’t imagine flying out of the country for the purpose of blogging, even though I dreamt about it). I am still doing music and I am not about to stop. Which brings me to the aim of this blog post; how did I find my purpose? How can YOU find your purpose?
A number of steps that helped me figure out my path;
- I worked out what I hated doing. It was clear that working in a law firm wasn’t for me. I absolutely loathed it. Especially because I had no control over what type or area of law I interacted with. Once you are clear about what you don’t like, you will make steps towards discovering what you like.
- Slow down: Take time to meditate and listen to yourself. Quiting the internship gave me a lot of time to myself to think exactly about where I would want to be five years from then. Take time out.
- Note down any ideas that excite you.
- Examine the themes in your life. What stands out in your life? What stands out in what you read, what you listen to? I knew I wanted to blog but for me to settle on a blog on hair related themes, it hit me hard that most people I met, friends and strangers, used to ask me about my hair. And that’s why I chose to talk about it because I knew there was an existing audience.
- Get in touch with your inner child. What did you love when you were young? What excited you? What did you look forward to doing? Most times, we lived true versions of ourselves as little children because of children’s nature of being free, not worrying so much about what people would say.
- Write. If you think it, ink it. The power of the pen cannot be underestimated. As soon as I got the urge to start this blog, I wrote down a power-point of how exactly I would do it, domain names, content ideas, who I’d love to collaborate with etc. I always feel so proud that I achieved three quarters of the things I wrote on that first power-point.
- Visualize: See it! See the plan in your head. Dream about it.
- Own your uniqueness. I am not apologetic about the fact that I’m more of a creative than a lawyer. I am proud to be a blogger. I am proud to call myself a musician, a teacher. Back in law school , I was very clear about my love for music even when surrounded by very ambitious lawyers. I knew I was unique and deep down, I knew law was not entirely meant for me. ( I say ‘not entirely’ because there are parts of it that I’d love to interact with eg. Copyright, but not at the expense of losing myself.) Never apologize for who you are.
- Ask your friends: I remember consulting my very close friends on what they thought I was cut out for. My best friend Dan was spot on and he encouraged me to pursue what my heart really wanted. Daki, too, was very supportive when I shared the idea of starting this blog. When deciding who you want to ask, please be sure to ask someone who knows you. Someone who knows your personality. I say this because consulting anyone who does not understand your character will not only demoralise you, but will also mislead you. The number of times I was discouraged to pursue my dreams just because ‘hiyo miaka yote ya law school unawaste?’ These were people who didn’t understand my struggle over the years. Ask your closest people. They know you better, but not any better than you know yourself.
- Cultivate confidence: I used to share a lot of inspirational quotes on my instagram account during this ‘transitional period’. Check out my instagram posts between 2015 and 2016 and you’ll see a lot of motivation quotes. As much as the aim was to inspire someone out there, the quotes were for me. They helped me fight the voices in my head. They reassured me to go for what I wanted. So if you’re going to have a vision board, pin down motivational quotes that will get you though.
- Believe it: it’s never too late to start over. You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending. Believe in your dreams, in your set goals, in your vision. Fight the voices in your head that discourage you. Just believe in yourself.
Sometimes life is about risking everything for a dream no one can see but you.
- Do what comes naturally. Your purpose comes naturally. It’s in you. You love doing it even without money being the end game. You love doing it even on Mondays. It comes naturally because it’s in you. So don’t think far, because it’s right inside you.
Will I ever practice law? Have I quit law? Those are some of the questions I keep getting. The answer, I am living my best for now. I have embraced the uncertainty. I am enjoying the beauty of becoming. Because when nothing is certain, anything is possible.
What’s your story? Please share with me below 😉