5 Life Lessons that Could Shape Your Career ~ Looking Back to Move Forward


Fletcher High School Career Day

🌟 Fletcher High School 2019 Career Day

I learnt at Fletcher High School in Gweru, Zimbabwe. On their Career Day, 23rd March 2019, I was given the honor as a member of the Fletcher Old Student’s Association (FOSA) Executive Committee, to share with the students life lessons that could guide their future and career decision-making at this point. The speech and accompanying video clip had the following content.

🌟 5 Life Lessons that Could Guide Your Career into Future

My names are Ennie Chipembere Chikwema. I am a Learning Expert, a Global Development Worker, a Life Wellness advocate and Career Coach by choice, its my life calling. I also work for ActionAid International, an Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), which is a federation of 45 countries. I have seen the world with ActionAid, because I have worked on short assignments in 35 of its countries in the years I have been there. I am the Head Programme Quality, Monitoring and Evaluation, Learning and Knowledge Management. I live in Johannesburg and work globally, but my heart is in Zimbabwe💖.

Ennie Fletcher Career Day blog picture

Its an honor to be part of this important moment in your lives. Please allow me to share 5 Life and Career Development Lessons that Could Guide and Shape Your Career and Life path.

🌟 Lesson 1 – Know Yourself ~ find answers to the questions ~ Who am I? Who do I want to become? ~ and Live a Meaningful Life

For some of you, this is the day that will have significant impact on you because of the decisions that you will take afterwards. These will shape your life forever.

Firstly, a Career is not about the job or work you will dobut as you grow older, it is the sum of who you are, what you do at work/on a job, and everything else, all the life role where you do other types of work, which makes up your life. Such as family roles, social roles with your friends and networks, being an active citizen and how you contribute to your community, country and others in this world. Today is not about subjects you will choose, the college or university you will go to, degrees you will do and the job you will eventually have. Today is about everything that answers the question…Who am I? Or Who are you? What am I good at? What’s my life purpose? What is my personal vision? My future legacy.

Grapple with these life questions until you find the answer. When you find the answer, who you say you are…is what will give your life meaning.

So today, ask the alummi:

1. Who are you? What’s your purpose, vision and values?
2. What gives your life meaning?

Use today as research to help you begin to answer the same questions.


🌟 Lesson 2 – You are not your life circumstances – You are created to be Great …. To WIN! ~ So have radical Self-Belief and always say: I was Born to be Great! I am here to WIN!

I would like to share a little bit about my story.

I was born and bred here in Gweru, the 3rd largest city in Zimbabwe. Mkoba 13 to be specific, one of the high density locations here, filled with low income housing. The time I was at Fletcher (1995-1996), I was coming out of a two roomed, semi-detached house where we shared the same shower and toilet with the neighbours. The kitchen was also the living room, the dining room, the kids bedroom and the guest bedroom because the parents slept in the one bedroom we had. We were a family of of on average 10 at any given time living in the 2 bedroom house, if one includes the relatives we lived with or regular visitors. It was cramped. There was no space or quiet time to study, but I made it work.

I studied History, Literature and Geography and I was a day scholar. I came here to Fletcher daily by bus, almost two hours of travel, and I had to do it again end of day. So when I got home around 5pm, I bathed, I ate and I slept by 6pm in our parents bedroom while people used the lounge. When it was time for the family to sleep around midnight that is when I woke up to study in the lounge while my siblings and relatives slept around me. Consistently for 2 Years of Advanced level, I studied for 5 hours everyday. I still have that work ethic today and hard work is one of my values.

My lived reality did not stop me from studying and passing. I had the unshakeable belief that ~ I was created to be Great, to Win, to Contribute and because of that I made my circumstances work for me.

You are not your circumstances

You are not where you come from, or your parents, or your subject choices, your degree program, or whoever you have a relationship with. You are YOU. Created and Born to be Great! A Winner! Believe it always.

So today, ask the alumni ~

1. What has influenced you and shapes you to be who you are? What do you believe about yourself?
2. What drives you or motivates you?

You are NOT your current life. What matters is what you believe about yourself and your inert abilities to succeed.

Believe in Yourself

🌟 Lesson 3 – Know You Have Options ~ lots and lots of career pathways to follow – Find out what they are

During our time we were not fortunate enough to have Career Days like these. Once you were given ARTS, COMMERCIALS or SCIENCE subjects, it seemed like your fate was sealed. But remember…you are not your circumstances. You were born to be Great…to Win. And so…shape your life and career path guided by the many options before you.

Take time to know yourself, research your market, do career informational interviews for jobs you are interested in, get career advice and then decide a path.

Your task today and for many years to come is to ask…yourself, important people in your life and the FOSA alumni ~

1. What are my options – for a job or to be self-employed?
2. If I make that decision, or take that action…where does that lead me in 5 years, 10 years or even 20 years?

Always research and know all your options before you decide and act.

Exploring Career Options

🌟 Lesson 4 ~ Have a PLAN. Take ACTION. Be strategic.

There is no substitute for having a plan for anything. I had a plan when I was here and living in Mkoba. It was not concrete, but it had some building blocks for the person I am today. Ennie’s Plan (1995) –

1. I wanted to pass
2. I wanted to go to university
3. I wanted to leave Gweru and see the world
4. I wanted to get a good job
5. I wanted to live a fulfilling life and help others.

I’m happy to report I achieved and live my life guided by this and other things I have added along the way.

Its never too early to have a Career Plan. Mine was very basic when I was here, but it has been my inner compass and guide. Whenever life pressures mount, I go back to my plan and what’s important to me. I remind myself I have faced the worst and overcome. I am born to do great things and to win! I affirm myself.

But a plan is not useful if you do not ACT on it. Nothing much to say here. Without action, nothing is going to happen for you.

So today…ask the alumni ~

1. What actions did you take to be where your are or who you are now?
2. What would you do differently?

Plan. Act. Be Strategic!

Plan do check act drawings on post notes

🌟 Lesson 5 ~ To adapt and compete in a fast changing World ~ Learn, Learn, Learn until you die

My mother was a Teacher and even though she passed on, I continue to learn so much through how she lived her life. She practiced gifting by teaching anyone who crossed her path. She had a side business to her Teaching job to get multiple income streams (side hustle or gig nowadays). Every school holiday she sent us to bond with a different set of relatives and she always said: nurture relationships if you want people to be there for you. I travelled most of Southern Africa with her, on a Teacher’s salary and my mind was exposed to other countries and possibilities beyond my country. I learnt a lot from her and her life.

Learn from everyone. Learn from life. Learn from reading. Learn from the internet…social media. Learn from what you do ~ school, the clubs you are part of and your experiences. Learn from both success and failure.

You will need to embrace and practice this…and its called lifelong learning.

The world is fast changing. If you don’t learn, adapt and change with it you will struggle.

So have a growth mindset and in everything you experience, capture  some lessons. The world is the biggest classroom and it has centuries old wisdom.

So today ask the alumni ~

1. How do you keep developing?
2. How do you keep ahead of life changes, new career demands, impacts of digital trends and your context?

The world, your life and people you interact with…are the biggest classroom filled with tonnes of wisdom. Tap into it.

Be Curious and Never Stop Learning

In closing: thank you once again for this honor.

Remember these 5 key lessons:

1. Know who you are, it shapes your life and career; and its important to live a Meaningful life.

2. You are not your circumstances, so always Believe in Yourself…You were created to be Great. Say: I am here to WIN!

3. Know your Career Options ~ You have many career pathways to follow, find them and decide.

4. Have a Plan and ACT…let it be your flexible guide. Be strategic!

5. To be able to adapt and compete in a fast changing world – Learn from everyone and everything daily, for the rest of your life.

Thank you!

To contact me use: ennielifecoach@servicesgalore.co.za

Twitter #careeradvice posts: follow @EnnieChipembere

For free career development resources: https://www.facebook.com/EnnieCareerCoach/


Ennie Chipembere
Career Coach🔥
23 March 2019

3 thoughts on “5 Life Lessons that Could Shape Your Career ~ Looking Back to Move Forward

  1. Thanks for this inspiring post. I am not at school any more but such lessons are useful at any point in your life.


  2. If you don’t know yourself, you will never know how good you are at anything. Gosh I know there is something I have not done well in life, but have no idea what. Oh, when did Fletcher admit girls? It’s so oooh, weird!


  3. I loved you blog for the Fletcher Alummi!! Ennie a thousand times……it really challenged and reminded me about the power of pause …reflection and getting inertia from our own journies …purpose …mission in life. Your blog reminded me how we truly are not defined by our circumstances and also to tap on the numerous giants who went before us and live among us…Indeed no man or woman has to be an island.


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