Life Lessons from Caroline Mutuko’s Life Class Series

Posted on in Career and Finance, Editorial

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Lessons you can’t learn from a class or read in a book.

These are some of the lessons that she learnt in her twenties that she shares on her youtube channel on a series called the Life Class, that have been valuable to her throughout her career. I like these lessons so much, so much so that every couple of months since she posted them, I come back to them and watch/listen so that they can stay fresh in my mind.

Trust Your Gut
Your gut has already figured out what your head has not figured out yet. The more you listen to your gut, the stronger it becomes; it is like a muscle.

Do Not Trust Success
Success is like youth, it is fleeting and fades away so quickly. Do not bask in your own glory. Success means different things to different people, and your definition will influence the way you will make certain decisions. For example, if success means to achieve a certain type of lifestyle, then you will get in debt trying to keep up with the expected standard. Define what success means to you, and stick to it, and do not hold onto other people’s praises and criticism unless they have earned it.

Love is Not Complicated
When you are young, love should make you glow – not just romantic relations, but even friendships and family relations. Do not remain fixated with a toxic relationship when you could otherwise be happier elsewhere or without it.

Think 15/10 Minutes Ahead
A lesson from Phil Matthews. Though the advice is for radio presenters so that they take their audience seriously and to deliver airtime that has value by preparing ahead, it still applies even at the workplace.  She suggests always think about the effect of what you are doing, prepare for meetings, for interviews,  etc. In short, prepare, prepare, – when you speak, have a proper point that you want to drive home. Do not just blabber about saying nothing. Prepare for work the night before, prepare for the interview as early as you can, prepare for meetings – always be ready as you can be. This improves your productivity and efficiency.

There is No Such as Thing as a Free Lunch
She learnt this from her former boss, Linda Halt at the age of 23. When you pay for your luxuries, lunches, meals during meetings, you have the liberty to turn down any compromising situations that could have otherwise risen. When you pay she says, you get bragging and bitching rights. You can brag about whatever luxury you enjoy since you actually could afford it, and you can bitch about it if the service offered was not of high quality. Most times, free means somebody will come calling, to get what they wanted when they were offering the free lunch. Do not trade the collateral of who you are on a meal or a luxury.

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Do It Now
In your twenties, changing career paths, moving to a new city, leaving relationships etc are very viable options in our 20s is especially easy since you still do not have family responsibilities, committed circumstances, career growth etc tying you down. This is especially useful if you learn how to fail fast, and embrace the mindset of seeing failure as a gift that enables you to do things better, differently and well the next time you make an attempt.

Elevation Requires Separation
Life is not like high school where friends hurdled together and mirrored each other. Life requires you to leave the herd without losing contact with them. The people you surround yourself with no doubt influence the direction of life that you will take. Since life is about seasons, what got you here will not get you there. Eventually, you have to learn to love people from a distance especially those whose life direction is quite direct from yours.

Sometimes You Need to Move Horizontally to Move Vertically
Powerful class from Gerald Mahinda – when she was transitioning from Capital to Kiss100, she looked at her prospects at Capital vs what she was being offered at Kiss100, and she consulted Gerald Mahinda. He asked her if she could get the same opportunity to move ahead in her career at Capital compared to the offer she had received. Back then, the lead/ prime time show radio presenter for Capital was crafted to be a white male over thirty. And at that time she was female, black and under 30, and so she moved. This career move enabled her to craft a career that allowed her to have her prime-time show,  the Big Breakfast. I really like this lesson, as it influences how I make decisions when I do not know where to go, and I think, what is the opportunity cost of letting go of one and embracing another.

Time and Energy, Do Not Waste It
Caroline says that when she was a programme controller at Kiss100, she would see interns leave the building at 5 as if the building was on fire. Instead, she recommends when you have no responsibilities such as family, you should take on extra work, and enrol in programs that you could help you advance your career. Then, when you are in your 30s and 40s you will have built up your career path to not work as hard as you should in your twenties.

Extra Bites: Check out her youtube playlist on the above lessons.

Thanks for reading!

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