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Following our dreams can often be scary; especially when there are so many uncertainties. What will others think of me? Are there tools that can help me achieve my dream? Will my dream job allow me to make a living?
It’s hard to take a risk and make that leap of faith to follow our true dream career. Many are satisfied and feel fortunate just to even have a job where they can provide for themselves and their families. But, if you are grinding your days away in a job you have no passion for, we would like to invite you to dream a little further:
How can you earn a living from doing a job you love?
We asked Parklins Ifeanyichukwu to tell his story.
IC Parklins is a 22-year-old entrepreneur, designer, and developer from Nigeria. He is the founder of Lupark DC, a global user experience design agency. His mission is to inspire designers, entrepreneurs, and especially young people, to develop themselves to help them get to the place they want to be.
How did you get to where you are?
I took on a lot of challenges! In the early stage of my career, I didn’t look at anyone as competition, but only focused on improving myself daily. My target was not to be another person, but a better version of myself every day.
A better Parklins, and not a Zuckerberg.
As a kid, I liked a lot of things - singing, dancing, drama, basketball, and animated cartoons. So, I indulged in my curiosities to find out what I enjoy more. This was one way I found out my true passion. So what I would suggest is just to try everything you’re interested in that comes your way, and don’t turn anything down. Everything you do will help you reach that ultimate goal.
What challenges did you face on your journey to your dream career, and how did you overcome them?
Having African parents, especially Nigerian parents, they always prefer their kids to be engineers, doctors, and lawyers. My parents wanted me to be a doctor. So, it was a very difficult decision to switch from studying medicine to design.
I was doubtful about whether I could pursue my dream. Many design jobs in my country were outsourced to India back then, and it was only when I found The Academy of Arts in California website that I realized a designer can be a full-time job. Knowing these facts, I started asking myself more critical questions:
Which of these jobs will I be comfortable doing even if there is no salary? Which can I do for fun and be happy with? That’s design.
Design is not just making things look pretty, it solves real problems. Think of something as simple as a car windshield wiper, that design meant that car owners no longer had to get out of the car in the cold to clean their windows. This is what fueled my passion. Being able to do something meaningful and help people solve problems.
I spent a lot of time working on improving my skills and applying to design competitions. I went on to win several competitions, which not only convinced my dad, but also myself. These led to internship positions in startups which helped me to improve my teamwork skills and enabled me to grow personally and professionally. The final competition at Stutern allowed me to get a place at Chocolate City, one of the biggest media and entertainment conglomerates in Africa, where I became the design lead after a few months.
Any tips for people out there struggling to follow their dreams?
I think that following your dream should be the second step. To realize what your dream is, you should spend time using existing tools to explore your curiosities. Look for a mentor. Inspirations can come from anywhere, especially when you have a role model to look up to.
Meet mentors by going to meetups, become ambassadors for companies, and connect with people on LinkedIn.
And once you know your dream, make sure you do the research. Don’t live with your assumptions and doubts. Understand the risks. Be sincere and optimistic with the facts. Even if the facts are not great, stay sincere. I wish you the best of luck!
Connect with Parklins: www.icparklins.com
“If your hope is to one day work in the job of your dreams, no matter what industry it is, you’ll need to have courage, determination, hard work, and the ability to network.”