Make a Habit of Reinventing Yourself (3)

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The journey of a thousand years begins with one step – Chinese proverb

What has reinventing yourself got to do with personal finance? Perhaps, I didn’t point it out in the two preceding pieces, and if I did, let me reiterate that it affects your bottom line in more ways than one. Those who don’t give a hoot about it may soon hit a brick wall and for others, it may be a glass ceiling in their chosen careers.
Dapo Oyebanjo ( D’banj) could have limited himself to Koko beats and wanting to  love Rihanna, Beyoncé and Omotola  (Oliver Twist), but by making major changes to his interests and  putting his ears to the ground and opening his eyes wide, he has reinvented himself and is now  a gari merchant. You meet him on the dance floor and in the market place.
Let me start by giving the backdrop for this piece.  The initial plan was to make it a two-part reading and I’d thought the second instalment would be the concluding part when I sent the copy to the editor last week. While I did notice a gap – the how of reinventing yourself needed more emphasis, I thought. I toyed with the idea of finding a way to plug this, it wasn’t that compelling enough until I read the interview with Ali Baba in This Day
on Saturday. Asked if he had actually retired from doing stand – up comedy, Ali Baba said he had not.
“What I have retired from was doing every other show, I’ve now restricted myself to doing A-class shows, the ones that are either state or federal government functions …”
Hear this: “If you continue to do shows that are paying for say N1 million to N4 million, then you stifle the market for the young ones.”
I thought stopping to do every other shows was his own way of reinventing himself. That’s part of the ‘how’ I felt was missing. So, you need not move from Nollywood to the Lagos House of Assembly like Desmond Elliot, in order to reinvent yourself. Ali Baba is still in the business of stand – up comedy, despite reinventing himself.
As if the Ali Baba piece wasn’t enough, the  idea of doing a third part  was still  a probability of not more than fifty per cent, until  I was inside a cab  taking me home in the early hours of
Sunday morning.   As we approached St Ann’s road junction, I continued my conversation with the man behind the wheel , by asking how long he had been in the business? “It’s been far too long ,” he replied . Continuing about a minute or so later, he said, “I’m going to stop doing this in December and do something else.  I will be travelling home and coming back every two or three months.”  He sounded so convincing of what he was saying that I had to ask him what he meant by ‘far too long.’
‘What do you mean, how long have you been doing this?’
 He replied:  “I’m 52,”  without his Ghana accent giving him away. According to him,   he came to the UK as a 21- year-old, and had been a mini cab driver since then. Of course, our conversation didn’t end there. Apart from exporting and importing, he also revealed, “I’ve always wanted to be preaching and praying for people.”
At that point, I knew there had to be a third part to this topic.
Here’s the point , while reinventing yourself will lead some to change careers like the cab driver above, you won’t necessarily have to, as the interview with Ali Baba and the Koko master ( D’banj) have shown. So, be  you a failed banker or an also-ran politician or even an undergraduate, in  order to reinvent yourself successfully, you may just need to do a short course in either a different aspect of your existing skill or a new area altogether. All you/re doing is expanding your horizon and seeking what else you could do. And for those who have recently become opposition politicians in the last three or four weeks, you may ask your party to organise short courses on ‘becoming a successful opposition politician.’

 As the stories of Ali Baba and D’banj have shown, reinventing yourself is not an overnight business. It might take doing four short courses over the space of two years and being a teaching assistant at a summer school for the next three years. Just make sure you open your eyes and put your ears to the ground.

Yours truly.

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