Empty your mind. Be water, my friend
I was checking out WhatsApp stories, and I saw a status saying “Be like water.” Reading it, something inside me went “exactly!” in agreement. In life, you have to be flexible. It is not really about going with the flow but adjusting to situations. Being the sleuth I am, I went searching for the original quote and found that Bruce Lee was behind it.
His advice is empty your mind and be formless and shapeless. When water gets into a cup, it becomes the cup; when it enters a teapot, it becomes the teapot. That got me thinking about the entrepreneurship journey. As a businesswoman, I realized that everything about my life prepared me for business. As a child, I subconsciously learned what I needed because I was like water.
What am I talking about?
The journey to Picha Booth
When I was in the US for my masters, I was not studying to be a cook or caterer. However, I worked in a deli making hot foods, sandwiches, pizzas and the works. I did it because that was the only available job.
When the G20 summit was in town, the opportunity came to be a banquet server, and I thought “why not” and applied. That then began my brief career in banqueting. Prior to that I had never held a tray full of champagne flutes and served them at posh events and celebrations.
By Kenyan standards, my Swahili speaking skills stand at a B (plain). However, when I got the chance to be an interpreter (mainly for client medical appointments), I did it. The job required me to know all parts of the human body in Swahili 😊, and I figured a way to learn (or rather re-learn) them.
Every time a job came up, I was not picky. At that time, you can say it was a matter of survival.
When I came back to Kenya, I was not keen to work in PR, but I did it. That, however, led me to land what I thought was my dream job in advertising. Even then, I thought I was too old to start at the bottom, but I did it anyway. 5-6 years later, I could confidently say that I had learned all the skills I needed to in that job and it is that experience that serves me well in entrepreneurship.
Currently, when I am an admin, a driver, a photo booth operator, a prop designer, a merrymaker, babysitter, a coat/drink minder, I remember how my journey made me this well-rounded person. I had to be like water to learn everything I needed to and become the thriving entrepreneur I am today.
Advice to entrepreneurs (and everyone else)
The path to where you ought to be is not linear. Fighting it is to work against yourself. When available opportunities come, do not pass them over because they aren’t “ideal”. To get to your purpose, you have to be flexible. I have not always gotten it right, but when I feel rigid, I remind myself to look at things differently. It has molded me into the entrepreneur I am now. My advice to you: empty your mind of what you think your journey should look like and be like water.
As always, thanks for stopping by.