The Courage to Follow Our Dreams
I have been blessed to be brought up by my amazing parents who always taught me to be courageous and follow my dreams no matter how insanely out of reach they may feel. Steve Jobs once said, “people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do.” This has to be one of my favorite quotes! It’s hard work to “change the world,” but the courage to me is in trying. It is inevitable that we will come across obstacles when we have ambitious goals; when obstacles arise, we must refuse to give up, using them as motivation instead. We must get back up stronger and carry on. To me, this is what having courage is all about!
I am 26, and I have had my fair share of challenges. I know I still have many more lessons to learn in this lifetime (but I embrace this for lessons make us grow). Last year was a rollercoaster; mostly with continuous drops, and I reached a crossroads in my personal life and with my career.
After graduating from university in 2011, I somehow found myself teaching. My dreams never consisted of teaching but I got asked to teach a few economics classes to first and second-year university students, and I took the offer. The rest is history! It wasn’t long before I discovered that I loved teaching and working in academia — something I never imagined.
While I loved teaching, a part of me still wanted to get a feel for working in a corporate environment because after all, that was the career path I envisioned for myself as a young girl. In 2014, I decided it was time for me to “try out” working for a corporate organization. I got the first job I applied for at a well-known insurance company. It happened quickly and next thing I knew I was sitting in my office working on data models for new health insurance policies. When I started this job, I thought I was helping people. The reality is that insurance companies and banks are businesses at the end of the day with profit motives. They both provide us with services we need, but it just did not click with me. A few weeks into the job I quit. And this took courage alright! But I could not stand one more day going into the office doing something I hated; it made me lose myself.
My family supported my decision and said I must do what makes me happy when I’d ask them for advice. On the other hand, I was deemed “crazy” and “incapable” of dealing with life by other people. Their reasoning was that I was earning a good salary and working with a great company, and so I should be satisfied. But my dreams were much bigger, and they could not comprehend that. I didn’t want to settle for that because I knew I could achieve so much more. I had much bigger plans! I felt lost for a while, but my family never lost faith in me even when I’d lost faith in myself, and it was through this experience of feeling lost that I realized that my true calling is to help people.
I started teaching again. The feeling of fulfillment when you are adding to someone’s future is priceless, whether it is in the form of teaching or studying predicaments and coming up with policies to help people. Outside of my work, I started advocating for gender equality, and I met amazing people from all over the world with like-minds. I also helped co-found UN Women’s Empower Women I am (wo)man campaign. I cannot be happier with my life, and I am passionately striving toward my goals!
While life can get challenging, we must always have the courage to get back up and to follow our dreams and our calling no matter what criticism or obstacles we face along the way! Have the courage to be honest with yourself and do what you love and love what you do.
Society gives us a check-list on how we should live our lives; go to school, study, get a job, get married and have babies. My advice to the next generation of women is this: dream big! Set goals that challenge you. Dream to be president or to change the world; do not limit yourself!
Lastly, once you are courageous enough to refuse to have mediocre goals you must surround yourself with positive people and ignore the negative ones. Surround yourself with those who have dreams, desire and ambition for they will help push you towards greatness.