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Home / Career Tips

Middle age and realities of unfulfilled career aspirations

 Realities of life change the course of careers and we have to accept that some of us may not see the inside of a spaceship (Shutterstock)

We are often motivated that we can be anything we want to be. Lupita Nyong’o said, “No matter where you are from, your dreams are valid.”

While all this is encouraging and true, realities of life may change the course of career and we eventually have to accept that some of us may not see the inside of a spaceship or discover the cure for cancer in our lifetime.

There is a common saying that goes, “Man plans, God laughs.”

Our dreams go astray sometimes. However, this does not mean we do not have to bother trying to achieve what we realistically can.

The middle age is when many of us have to accept the realities that our career fantasies can differ with what is happening in real time. Perhaps such things seemed easily attainable when we were younger but they are gradually getting out of reach as we age.

At this mature age, we are better placed to accept our weaknesses and have confidence in how far our strengths can take us.

Adulthood doesn’t mean we have got every aspect of your career figured out, it means we have been exposed enough to know what works and what doesn’t.

Acknowledge lack of aptitude

Perhaps you lack the natural ability, drive, resources or skills to be the next president of Kenya, the CEO of your company, or start your own; you can still achieve recognition and success in the position you find yourself in.

Sometimes holding on to hope bears fruit; however with unrealistic ambitions, you are bound to be in denial for most of your productive years.

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You will blame your boss for showing favouritism and overlooking your achievements during promotions.

The worst is when you see millennials getting the positions that took you long to get or taking what you always wished for yourself. Such toxic tendencies beget hostile relationships.

Instead of accepting the situation as it is and venture into more rewarding paths, you may find yourself with midlife crises such as getting into car racing, extra marital affairs; generally things that lie to you that you are still in your youth.

Only when you accept and resolve that you need to exert efforts into other aspects that may bring you the success and recognition you desire, you journey to make something meaningful can begin.

 Adulthood means we have been exposed enough to know what works and what doesn’t (Shutterstock)

Behind every legend lies an impossible dream

Adversity pushes some of us to achieve the unattainable. If you take a look at some of the most successful entrepreneurs in Kenya, you will realise that, at some point, they were pushed out of their comfort zones by unpleasant circumstances.

The comfort of a job and a salary may blind many of us that we are on the way to success when, in reality, we will not have anywhere to go when work comes to a halt. This was evident when the coronavirus pandemic caused job losses and threw some of us to find more rewarding means of earning a living.

Stella Wangui was a cateress at a private primary school in Mombasa. After the closure of schools, she had to start a food kiosk to make ends meet.

“I do not think I want to be employed anymore. I am now earning more than what I was earning when I was employed. For me, the pandemic got me out of my comfort zone and I had to get creative,” she says.

When life hands you a bad hand, your growth mindset and grit is what will make you get to the top once again. Reset your timelines. Resilience goes a long way.

Waiting is not easy

Chasing your dreams may come with challenges. Having that burning desire to achieve your goal will help you have a positive mindset to overcome hurdles along the journey.

There will be times you will be scared, tempted to just play it safe and remain in familiar spaces, self-doubt will kick in but eventually, you have to forge ahead.

At times, you may work for months or even years on end without much fruits. You may have to wait; you cannot build something from scratch overnight. Life may get in the way; your family member may get seriously ill, you may land a time-intensive project but life isn’t perfect anyway.

In the long run, you will look back all the hardships you had to go through and all you will see will be a blur. You will be content for the lessons learnt. Ultimately, life is never linear. Enjoy the present and no plan for the future is cast on stone.

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