Recalibrate your algorithm… and own it!

20 September 2019 | Business

Vennduke Chigumba

Have you ever had a piece of meat or corn stuck in your teeth, and it just so happens to be in that tough corner in your mouth that you cannot seem to reach?

You try using a toothpick and that expensive floss you bought, and no, it seems the darn thing does not want to be found. Aggravated anger builds more determination, as you say to yourself: “How rude of this foreign object (which you enjoyed eating, just by the way) to just decide to get stuck in my mouth and refuses to leave!”

I equate this annoying feeling with something I would like to call ‘failure to launch’.

We all reach that patch in our careers that makes us ask ourselves: “Oh my, am I doing the right thing? Am I in the right industry? Am I really going to work in this company for that much longer? Oh dear, what’s next?”

Fear of the unknown creates a barrier in our minds that prohibits us from seeing beyond our current circumstances, and the more we try not to think about it, the more this feeling of unrest grows, and the more you feel like you have to press the emergency exit button.

I too reached a phase like that for a season, which seemed to last forever. At the beginning of last year, I began to ask myself the nagging question: “What’s next and do I see myself here in a year?”

I had to get to a point of clarity. Bear in mind, I was single (I still am), I had no mortgage, no impediment or anything tying me down. Mentally I became open to the idea of exploration, which was one of the most important things I did. Whatever my next move was going to be, I needed to be clear about what I did not want to do next. That shift in my mind to explore got me invited to many interviews, resulting in many offers, but absolutely nothing resonated with me, which indicated what I didn’t want to do. With this came more questions like: “If not this, then what?”

I am glad to say that not even money could sway me at that point.

That’s right, I too was brought up in a generation that was brutally competitive and created a perception that money solves all problems, so the objective was always to get a job that stretched my wallet. Oh what foolish myths we have allowed to infiltrate, let alone influence, our way of thinking. I am not saying that money is a non-factor when it comes to career choices. But at what cost? Your happiness? Your peace of mind?

After all, what is the use of having money when your soul is darker than the coal you used to braai that meat that got stuck in your teeth? To those in the 20s, this may be foreign to you, but believe me, this is something to be aware of.

Those over 30 - and I know I am speaking to someone here - when you begin to want to do more than just collect a pay cheque and pursue a bigger destiny and purpose, remove money from the equation.

When you chase purpose and not a pay cheque, brace yourself for your cage to be rattled, it will definitely be a leap out of your comfort zone, but very rewarding.

Towards the end of last year, an amazing and unexpected opportunity came after searching and being open to purpose-driven change. The other piece of parchment you need to master on this journey is patience; nothing worth having has ever come easy. It is up to you to surrender and retreat back to comfort or fasten your seatbelt for take-off. The vital thing at this point was to remain steadfast and deliberate about what I knew was in line with my destiny and remain true to that.

Be clear about what you desire out of life and work out your purpose, and not your career. Align with that, even if it means pressing the reset button.

There is reward in taking a leap into the unknown, as a means to recalibrate your outlook on life, in order to harness the talents you have hidden, and most importantly, to fall in line with the person you want to be.

*Vennduke Chigumba is a strategist at Weathermen & Co