I stayed in Nairobi, as an actress in a theatre travelling troupe. Our first play was The Government Inspector, and I played his daughter, Marya. I also had my first
Fast forward to today, 12 years later, and I like to think, eons wiser. I've worked in a few places, made and broken friends and relations, grown networks and learnt a few things about what opens doors.
1. Your work ethic will speak for you. I'm a hard worker. Years later and perhaps I now I can manage to step aside and make time to smell the flowers, I put 100% into what I do. I learned to deliver beyond expectations very early on in my career, because that's what makes you exemplary.
2. Build your networks. I learnt that i should not be forgettable, much later on in my career, I wish I knew earlier. There's a big difference between an authority asking who you are, and another who calls out your name. In this business, you need the latter. Carry your business card, read about possible talking points, whether you're off to a cocktail party or lunch with a team from a top financial advisory. I stopped job hunting because I have people that believe me in me.
3. Be Knowledgeble. Read, a lot. Get to know what's happening in the US, in Egypt, In Syria, news of global importance are a great place to open conversations and to make an impression. You never know who'll be paying attention. I have been called to speak at places because someone heard me saying we are getting this ICT euphoria wrong somewhere, we need innovators, but we also need the missing link that is funding, we need to stop creating for fun and fame, and start competing with Silicon Valley made apps.
4. Work towards personal growth If I lost everything today, my job, my house, my car, and my watches, (that’s the one thing that bursts my pockets.) I have a plan. I will start from scratch and will rebuild in not so long a time. I may sell second hand clothes; I may sell cakes, or create leather handbags for sale. I have learned to be confident in my passion for things outside my career that can still hold me up if all else fall apart.
5. Have a mentor. When you're 33 going on 40, have a six year old child, a vision board that looks like Victoria Beckam’s life today, you need someone to push you towards your dreams. It's easy to get lost in the current, but you need to focus on where you want to be tomorrow. Today already happened, look out for tomorrow and do something different.
6. Set your goals. I read somewhere that resolutions don't create success, habit does. I have a long list of goals that I look at least once a day. I have written them down and I have reminders that keep me on toes. I have 2 mentors. (And I forcefully recruited one today).
I keep learning every day, but the most important thing is to keep amazing people around you. People that will challenge you to be better, that will laugh and cry with you, but who know the value of tough love. You cannot win when you are alone. I have learned that I am nothing without my friends and my family and my God.
And this is just the beginning.