Personal Finance

Sailing out of ‘safe’ harbour


Most of us know that the only individuals who are ready to embrace the ever-changing dynamics of today’s workplace are the ones likely to reap big rewards. Those who understand that to fully appreciate and align themselves with any organisation’s goals, they must raise their own awareness and establish their personal goals.
We want to understand the import of personal discipline in raising the value of our contribution to our personal and professional interactions.

Those of us who master the power of habit for effective, consistent, relevant and timely execution of their aspirations. These are the people who take it upon themselves to develop their mindset and consequently influence the improvement of organisational culture by personifying the leadership traits that they desire to experience in others.

These are the people that we see scaling the corporate ladder to monumentally increase their contribution and rewards. So we start to rally around them hoping to have some of their magic rub off onto us. By so doing, we effectively install them as opinion leaders in their various.

We cannot help but admire them as they continually attract greater responsibilities, gain recognition and command higher remuneration with every move they make. It is because they make the uncommon effort to develop, internalise, and embody their distinct professional edge.

They are not the people who incessantly comb through the classifieds looking for “greener pastures”. Rather they are among the very few who have exciting careers knocking at their doorsteps. They are the people who develop new income streams. Seemingly without effort, they spread their personal and professional brands into new untapped territories, creating legacies that the rest are left green with envy of.


Unfortunately, most us do not do this. The majority of us secretly entertain great big ideas that sound ridiculous even to ourselves. We dare not breathe a word of them to anyone lest we be labelled unstable. The more unfortunate situation is that we do not know what the steps are to bring our ideas to life.

So we suffer in silence, our careers stagnate, and we struggle to manage ourselves on a day-to-day basis. The teams that we manage become more and more of burdens to us and we can hardly carry out our mandate without pulling our hair out. We grow older and more set in our ways. The companies we work for, begin to feel less like the exciting opportunities we sought a while back and more like mazes of unending bureaucratic systems that serve more to handcuff our creativity than empower us to give our best output. How stifling can life be!

We slide into frustration, lethargy sets in, and before we know it, we are no longer the star performers we once were. We are no longer the energetic, driven professionals, that our employers hired. Our employers are busy people with little to no time to babysit us especially because there is no shortage of younger, cheaper, eager and energetic entrants into the workplace to pick from. Opportunities inevitably start to skip us more than we can bear.

We dream of transitioning into new roles, or take the plunge into entrepreneurship for years, but do nothing. We convince ourselves that we are being realistic: we are tied up in loans, tuition fees and mortgages, you know. So we stay put feeding our minds on the unfortunate notion that it is better to be safe than sorry. Most of those around us subscribe to the same school of thought. This is what life is, right? All the while, the clock ticks away diligently.

Soon, retirement stares right at us in the face, the children grow up, leave home and we wonder what we are supposed to do with ourselves in our empty nests. We finally realise that we have spent most of our lives digging a hard place and now we find ourselves at the rock. We are literally and metaphorically stuck, yet we are brilliant people. How did this happen?

Here is how it happened; we stopped developing ourselves when we got jobs thinking that life stopped for us as well. In short, we remained normal, did the expected, the accepted and trod the tried and tested paths. Unfortunately for us, we failed to understand that the people who truly realise their ultimate potential are the few who choose to do the unusual, uncomfortable, unpopular and even abnormal things that average people are unwilling to do.

Seraphine Ruligirwa-Kamara is also an Executive Coach & Image Consultant.