To excel at anything, that thing has to be your sole area focus. It requires your undivided attention; all your time, wits and energy. It will call for you to spend a lot of time on research, practice and improvement.
However, in light of volatile economic environments like Zimbabwe, where inflation is sky-rocketing and income remains stagnant, how does one excel? I’ve been looking for a side hustle to start in order to supplement my employment income. In my search, I have realised that whatever it is that I choose to do will require a lot of my attention. That means I have to divide my attention between tax and my side hustle. In simple words, I have to become an average tax advisor so that I am able to do other things. I have to cut down the time I spend after work, reading and researching on tax issues. How do I navigate that space because I’m tired of having unpaid bills that keep piling up?
These issues have influenced life-altering decisions which many have made unconsciously because of the need to put food on the table. In making such decisions, we use our reptilian brain which is wired to avoid starvation. The immediate solution is not so simple because it depends on the paymaster. Competitive remuneration and profitable employment can help one move from operating in the reptilian brain to their neolimbic and prefrontal brains which are armed with creativity, innovation and the like, which we need in this world. We can only be our best selves when we are not working to avoid starvation.
What then do I do? Do I split my focus so I can put food on the table because this is the corner most Young Professionals are in right now? Many have left their first choice of profession to pursue what started as a side hustle because it brings in more returns. How do we navigate this terrain and find sustainable solutions? Solutions which afford us to be economically and financially emancipated while we sharpen our skills. Some employers may not care much about safeguarding the future of your profession but we all need to think about how the future pool of professionals will be affected. If talent can’t be retained in organisations where professionals can become more skillful, many professions will be left with half-baked professionals. One important lesson I learnt 10 years ago was that an ability or talent is not enough on its own. It becomes a skill when it is practiced.
Young Professionals are caught in a dilemma of choosing between staying in a single profession and going after the next thing that pays the bills. Consequently, we might end up with a pool of professionals who know a bit of everything but are not skilled in anything. As Young Professionals, we need to come together and brainstorm on how best to keep our professions alive while being able to put food on the table and pay our bills. Some will leave their current employer to focus on their side hustle but wherever you go, are you continuing on your path or you’re taking a detour? If you’re taking a detour, what’s your plan to return to your desired path? You must have a plan with set timelines.
I know it’s hard to think straight because nobody wants to starve but it’s more important to make conscious decisions. I don’t know yet how I will fix my own situation but may God give me profitable ideas. Always plan with the end in mind.
Be inspired to your ultimate emergence!Nonhlanhla Nyathi
PS – I know about multiple streams of income and financial planning. This is a post on safeguarding professions for the future.Let's connect on social media