The Editor’s Letter – May
Success… a funny little word.
Growing up, I loved my school, but one distinct feature I remember was that in every way we were prepped to be successful. Every action and every activity was orientated around helping us achieve a certain aim which was top exam results, then admission into great universities and then finally entry into influential companies.
The ability to compare
Now the mentality or desire to be successful is not wrong in itself. However, at school I found that the problem with placing the emphasis on becoming successful was the constant need to compare our achievements to those around us. This resulted in either having an inflated sense of ego because of our accomplishments or feeling disheartened at our lack of performance. In today’s world, for the purpose of social media we document every #amazing thing about our lives for our friends to see and in addition to the rise of our obsession with celebrities, the ability to compare has only become more apparent.
The problem with success
I used to think of success as a destination – whether getting my dream job, husband, house, body or whatever – it was always an end goal. The main problem with seeing success like this is that we forever live in the future. We miss out on the little wins, the every day moments that make up the big picture. I’m also learning that even though I have goals and dreams, things that I’m passionate about that I want to come to fruition, I need to learn to pause and be grateful for the journey so far. I’m sure if we all did that regularly we’d be amazed and a lot happier!
With human nature, I feel it’s difficult at any one time in life to feel completely content in every area of our lives. So the other problem with defining success by a final achievement means that we can live in a constant state of dissatisfaction. Particularly in the public eye or in positions of influence, we are seeing heartbreakingly more and more that defining success by generic parameters of a job title, wealth, appearance or status doesn’t always bring fulfilment or joy.
The real purpose of success
From a young age I’ve always been very driven – from wanting to be a tennis player, football referee, fashion designer and singer (which wouldn’t have been kind to anybody’s hearing!). I still desire and pray I will be successful, but growing in my personal faith and relationship with Jesus has impacted my perspective of success and reason for it. It sounds a cliché but I feel success really is enjoying what you do, understanding the purpose behind why you do it and enjoy being with those that you get to work and live life with.
One of my biggest heroes is Angela Ahrendts, the former CEO of Burberry and now the VP of Retail at Apple. She’s clearly by any standard extremely successful. She’s a wife, mother, compelling communicator, passionate, works with integrity and desires the best of herself and employees. However, having worked for her, the biggest tribute I can pay her is summed up by this Maya Angelou quote:
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Working at Burberry you felt inspired by the environment and also excited by the future. To me success is and should be attractive because of the positive impact you can make in the lives of those around you. Whether you’re in the medical field to help your patients, in education to inspire your students to achieve more than they think they can, in the corporate world to be a blessing to your colleagues or sector, or working independently in the creative industry to produce work that entertains and delights people, I feel that to love what you do and influence people in that way is the true definition of success.
I hope this month you’re inspired by the features on the blog and I’m praying for each of you that in your lives you’d find out what you’re really passionate about, excel at that but more importantly enjoy and embrace the day to day moments.
With love always,
Ruth Yimika Awogbade xx