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Oyindamola Williams: You Don’t Need to Become an Entrepreneur to Build Your Dreams

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You work as a marketer for Nigerian jollof. You are passionate about what you do, so you show up for work early and are always ready when you are needed, displaying high work ethics. You recently proved to a group of Ghanaians that Nigerian jollof is better.

They agree.

You are creating value. You love what you do. You are part of a group that provides food, making the world safe for democracy.

You should be proud of yourself – and you are.

But then one day, you scroll through social media and see one of these quotes:

“If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.”

This makes you feel really sad, inferior and unappreciated. So you decide to quit your job – to build your dream.

At one point or the other, you must have come across one of these well-meaning but erroneous quotes that tell you that the only way to be relevant and successful is to follow your ‘dream’. And like most of us, I had bought into such ideologies for a while. I thought it was a wise saying that pushed a person to be more, a good way to motivate you to seek the good life.

It seemed like a good idea with a truckload of benefits; a robust bank account, free time, bragging rights and hey, you get to be your own boss; do your own thing. And then there is the tiny fact that you don’t want to be building someone else’s dream. But there is a problem with sayings and ideologies such as these – several problems actually.

The first being that ‘building a dream’ is a far more than what those motivational speakers dish out. So you are hyped and motivated enough to quit your job and follow your dream but after the great leap, then what? What do you know about what it actually takes to build a dream? Really, what do you know? And to be honest, what most of us actually want to do is ‘chase’ a dream.

Secondly, imagine a world filled with dream chasers, a world where everyone is busy deciding, “You know what? I’m going to follow my dream” and no one is actually building the dreams we chase. Imagine a world where there are no systems, just single-man teams that consist of one person ‘brave’ enough to be their boss. I’m sure you realize by now how chaotic that world would be. I sure don’t want to live there.

Now every person is unique in themselves; some are given the dream/plan, they are the ones who see the problems and envision the solution. While others are the problem solvers, the dream builders. I am tired of people attacking those who are humble and brave enough to believe in the dreams of others. I am tired of society labelling such people and such a life as inferior.

Am I saying not to be an entrepreneur? No, of course not. That would be ridiculous. But I want us to have a balanced view of the roles of various individuals. When we are all running away because we don’t want to be that one building the dreams of others, we forget that even the dream we want to build for ourselves cannot be built by us alone if it will stand. It doesn’t matter how awesome you think you or your dreams are, if you do not have people who believe in that vision and are able to work with you to build it, you will fail.

I believe very strongly that this mindset is rooted also in the belief that jobs are just for making money. However, to be relevant, you must have a career and not just a job. In a career, you are creating value for yourself and others, you are building systems. It is not just about the money now.

The principle of work is not first about making money but creating value.

This means that building the dreams of others is not so bad because it is not just about money and financial independence but something more fundamental – value; Mission. And the truth is, when you create value, money will naturally gravitate towards you. No human would want to lose someone who adds value to them not matter how intensely they dislike their face.

When we begin to cite examples of great entrepreneurs who have made it – Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates etc etc. – we forget that all of them who built these sustainable companies and businesses did not do it alone. And we forget also the thousands of faithful workers who show up every day to commit to a dream they believe in. It takes a level of courage and humility to do that.

The world would be in more mess than it is now if we all decided to quit our jobs and ‘follow our dreams’ (and please I’m in no way telling you not to follow your dreams I’m only opposed to confining what following ones dream truly means). I’m tired of reading books and articles that tell me that this is the ultimate key to freedom and happiness. No, it is not! Not everyone was wired that way. It doesn’t mean you should be a mediocre of course, but it means becoming so much of an asset that the dream is achieved because of the value you give.

In summary: whether you are the architect with the plan/vision or the builder who works to build the vision, we should respect and appreciate ourselves, not exalting one over the other and despising another or making either of them feel inferior to the other.

If you are a boss, respect those who work for and with you. Don’t despise them because let’s face it: you’ll crumble terribly without them. If you are a worker, don’t quit your job if you don’t need to. If it’s something you believe in, work hard at creating value and building the vision. Know the vision, understand it and own it if you believe in it. And if you don’t, then yes, run – either to one you believe in or your own dream. However, do not let anyone talk and hype you into chasing a dream when you are not ready to commit to building it. Don’t be pushed into thinking happiness is about being in the spotlight. Don’t be pulled into entrepreneurship just because it looks like some plateau of all the goodness in life.

Photo Credit: Kadettmann | Dreamstime.com

Oyindamola Williams is a full time God girl moving to the rhythms of grace. A perpetual learner and occasional ‘oversabi’. She is a writer and Front-End Developer/Graphic Designer. Her interests include people, literature, music, technology, dodo and how everything matters to the Kingdom.She blogs at http://www.oyinwilliams.wordpress.com. You can reach her on [email protected] for unsolicited advice or find her on Twitter and Instagram @_Soteria_

16 Comments

  1. DatEnuguChic

    May 24, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Very apt. Have been telling some colleagues, we are not all born to be entrepreneurs, some will always be career people. Thanks for this article

    • Oyin

      June 1, 2017 at 2:08 am

      Exactly! Everyone has their place.

      Thanks

  2. Ernest Agbewhe

    May 24, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Oyindamola thank you so much for making us realize that those who help in building a dream matter equally as the dreamer. Great article. well done.

    • Oyin

      June 1, 2017 at 2:09 am

      Yes, they matter. It’s sad when we look down on those people. Thanks for reading.

  3. Whatever

    May 24, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Exactly. Very apt write up.

    I wish people would stop making people who have 9 to 5 jobs and love their jobs feel like what they are doing is useless.
    People quit their jobs without having any bearing to become entrepreneurs and then they become a burden to their entire family and friends.

    If you are not cut out for it……by all means keep your job.

    This doesn’t mean your side hussle should stop.

    • Oyin

      June 1, 2017 at 2:13 am

      Lol @ side hustle. Very true. It’s smart to have that too.

      Thanks for weighing in on this

  4. Tosin

    May 24, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    That last paragraph is divine! and stealable, in fact, I’m stealing it. 😀

    • Oyin

      June 1, 2017 at 2:14 am

      Haha. It’s allowed. Except, it’s not stealing anymore 😉

  5. Chu

    May 24, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    I love this article, I keep telling people that I’m not business minded, I have discovered that about my self. My bro took after my dad for he business acumen, I took after my mum as the career inclined person.
    This article reminds me of a story I read on facebook last week, a man was convinced by friends to leave Canada and come to Nigeria cos the market was ripe for him, he sold of all he had and returned to Nigeria ready to live the big life as an entreprenuer, rented a service flat in Lekki, kids in posh school all the works, then time for the friend’s to chip in, they abandoned him, one story to another. From a four bedroom duplex he moved to a two bedroom at the outskirts of Ajah, he wanted to change the children’s school to a cheaper one but the wife refused, she by the way had a good paying job and advances from rich men. She later divorced him and took the kids while he is stuck in Nigeria wondering how his life went south so suddenly.
    This message needs to be circulated more.

    • Oyin

      June 1, 2017 at 2:18 am

      Just look at that… There’s a big difference between calculated risk and well…stupid decisions. A lot of people want to be entrepreneurs but have little idea what that means. If you want to do it, then know what you’re doing. After all, no one builds a house without first counting the cost as the Bible says.

      Thanks Chu for weighing in on this. 🙂

  6. Taiye

    June 1, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    We all feel this way at one point or the other, we want to be in charge and make decisions.
    The so-called Entrepreneurs that were lucky so to say, keep telling us as though it was easy.

    Everyone in the universe can.t be an entrepreneur but we can add value and put in our best in what we do.

    That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a side project, but don’t quit your Job if you don’t have other sources of income.

  7. A. Abidemi

    June 1, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Been pondering about this recently. ..Really glad I came across this article. Great job Damola!

  8. TEMIDAYO ADEWUNMI

    June 2, 2017 at 7:11 am

    @Oyin, you just blew it all open. This is really an eye opener, your write-up distinctly made it clear that many entrepreneurs are Dream chasers and not Builders, having measured their current achievements with all they have read in books and heard from speakers. Thanks for this, dearie.

  9. Sissoho ibrahim Khalil

    June 2, 2017 at 11:34 am

    I’m very glad I stumbled upon this interesting write up. All Nigerian youths now want to be dream chasers nobody wants to share in another’s dream and help build a dream together, adding value to the nation as a whole. Your mates only support you in your dream with words, everyone be chasing their individual dreams.

  10. Samuel Imafidon

    July 11, 2017 at 11:03 am

    I agree. What’s important is that we realise where we belong and be comfortable therein. Thanks Oyin,

  11. Efukikata Efet

    November 3, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    Powerful and interesting… God bless you real good for this article you’ve written.

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