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Rehema Kahurananga: Failure is never final, start where you are

Achieving Woman
 Rehema Kahurananga is the head of Content Development at Kenya Airways (Photo: Courtesy)

My daily routine has evolved quite a bit because of the pandemic. Before the obvious thing was to wake up, get ready for work and go to a physical office.

Now that has changed to a hybrid model where sometimes I go to the office and other days I work from home. When working from home, I try to wake up closer to 5am so I can have that one hour of the day to myself.

I am reading The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma, and the lesson I am taking out of it is the importance of giving yourself one hour of the day (it does not have to be 5am on the dot) to focus on yourself. Morning works for me because as a working mother, it gets busy during the day.

I am not a morning person, but I am getting to appreciate the idea of having a full hour to myself to cover things like spending time with God – whether that is reading the Bible, writing in my journal or praying alone – and focusing on my personal projects.

I am a solo parent to a wonderful 11-year-old school-going boy, so after he wakes up at around 6.15am, I spend the next hour helping him get ready for school.

I try to drop him off myself at least once a week because there is something about that time in the car that makes for a great bonding session.

As head of content development at Kenya Airways, my job involves telling KQ’s story through multiple platforms.

Aviation is a complex industry, and there is a lot that goes into making sure the operation works. It is my privilege to work within the team that is telling these stories.

Storytelling is something I was always good at and that I enjoyed doing, and so a career in the fields of communication and journalism seemed natural.

But I have surprised myself over the years. I never saw myself as a networker. I am introverted, but when the occasion calls for it, I will be social.

I have surprised myself in this way. I have met lots of people I would not have met as easily otherwise. I used to roll my eyes when someone mentioned the power of networking, but now I know its value.

If you are looking to develop your networking skills, remember to be gentle with yourself. Do not try to be the world’s best networker overnight.

Start where you are, and you will be surprised by how it can be done in many different ways. Social media offers a great avenue for networking.

I tend to gravitate towards LinkedIn and was recently introduced to Clubhouse, a social audio app that I love because there are no pictures involved – this makes it more about connecting rather than living your best life and FOMO.

Find such channels that work for you and groups tailored to your interests, and challenge yourself to do something in those platforms.

I know we are still young when we first start out in our careers, but I wish I knew how important it is to have a good level of self-awareness.

I now know that self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-love are key because they help you in setting boundaries, prioritising things that are important to you, and doing so without apologies.

I would tell my younger self not to try to be perfect at everything and stop trying to be everything to everyone.

These are lessons I keep learning even at this stage. I would also tell myself to stop fearing failure. Failure is never final and the most critical thing is what you do with it.

Self-care to me means accepting that I am enough and that I cannot do it all at the same time. It means remembering that it is okay to take time for myself – that is why my one hour in the morning is important.

It means reminding myself that work is important but it should not consume everything. Self-care also means pursuing personal projects.

Losing my dad reminded me afresh how easy it is to take loved ones for granted. Sometimes we give them our time at the end of the day when we are exhausted and cranky.

Currently, self-care also means being intentional about spending time with the people that I love and being fully present when I am with them.

A lot of my life outside work was so focused on things that needed to happen in order for the household to operate optimally, and that entailed running lots of errands.

But now I incorporate time with my family and being out in nature. I have covered a lot of walking trails and I am trying to discover more things to do outside.

I love reading, and the last two books that stayed with me were Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.

I love to cook – the meal I love to make for sentimental reasons (it is my son’s favourite) is a chicken sandwich that I make from scratch. It has become a Sunday night tradition.

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