Growing up in a household where the woman was the main breadwinner, and an amazing mother at the same time perhaps influenced my obsession with becoming successful professionally. I never really dreamt of my prince charming as a young girl, although I would think from time to time about my wedding day and what it would feel like to be a princess dressed in a gorgeous white, sparkly gown for a day. My main aspirations however were to do something amazing with my life, to find what I am good at and what I enjoy and to do that. And as I grew older, my journey began to evolve into a series of happenings that I always wanted. Everything I wanted to do in my life so far personally and professionally I have achieved because I am hungry for it, I commit to it and I stay focused. I have also found guidance through amazing mentors to whom I will forever be grateful for.
Whether you are at the beginning of your professional journey, on top of it or slowly climbing those big steps, you have to know that you can definitely do it.
To be great at something and be consistent at it you must love what you do. I know you probably hear it all the time, but it’s not as easy I know. You can love a lot of things but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be your calling. For example, if you love baking it doesn’t mean that you need to turn it into a business, or if you enjoy sports, you must become an athlete. Instead look at the qualities of those hobbies and identify what is it that makes you love it so much. To use the baking example, the qualities in it are often creativity, patience, being particular about certain ingredients, doing something with your hands and creating something beautiful and delicious. This can apply to so many professional fields, you just have to find the right one that requires those qualities. The reason why you need to love it is because if you want to be really, really good at something you have to work very hard. And if you love what you do, the hard work you put in it fulfills you and makes you happy; and this can help you push through the most challenging times. (because they always come)
You must also be committed. I think this is one of the hardest, but most rewarding qualities. It is not enough to have a talent for something and love it. You have to commit to it, everyday, all the time. You must be obsessed with it almost, but a healthy kind of obsessions where you really want it so bad that you are prepared to do whatever it takes. And as I have learnt on my journey, commitment is absolutely necessary. The day you decide to be committed to it is the day you’ll start seeing the bigger picture. Commitment comes in even when things seem really hard, or when you fail at it. Trust me you will. Nobody is super human and most of the world’s biggest visionaries failed probably multiple times before they accomplished what they did. But what made them get there is the level of commitment they had, not giving up because they stayed focused and consistent with their actions.
To excel at what you do you have to put your ego aside and be prepared to learn every day. If you are already amazing in your career and do great things it’s probably because you know the importance of staying humble and always curious to discover more layers that unfold more of your potential. The most successful people I have met so far, and I met quite a few, are always keen to learn from others, whether they are their most junior level employee or their most senior. It doesn’t mean they will necessarily agree and let it shape their vision, but the more you learn, the better you become. And this is a continual journey you should take.
My favorite one by far is finding a mentor because the day I did this, it was the day I found the key to unlock the door to limitless opportunities. What better way of learning the process to success than having somebody who takes you under their wing to teach you? Learning from their failures is a great way to avoid making them yourself. Great mentors will always pick up on your strengths and weaknesses and will help inspire you to face your fears and become better. The best mentors I’ve had throughout my life, particularly professionally have been able to open my eyes to opportunities that I could embark on that I never really saw myself. They helped me understand myself in so many ways and inspired me to do things that will open doors for me externally and also within. Finding a mentor can be hard because to have to know they genuinely want the best for you, but if you are truly committed and want it bad enough, the right person will see it. If you look at the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, they all have different ways of giving it back to the community. One of my first mentors once said to me that the greatest part of their success is their ability to share their journey with those who want to accomplish great things.
Leaving the best for last, if you truly want to be at the top of your game, you have to be hungry for it. You know the feeling when you’re in pain because you haven’t eaten all day due to being busy and all you want to do is get some food? That’s the feeling you have when you are hungry for achieving what you want. There will be others that are probably better than you technically, or have better skills, or are more talented. But as emotional intelligence teaches us, persistence and working towards it everyday, regardless of the challenges and road blocks that come your way is what is going to set you apart from the rest. Eric Thomas always says in his talks that your mindset should be “You will not outwork me”. This means that you giving it 100% is not enough, you have to give it 120%, 140%. To reach a level of greatness, your mindset must be aligned with your physical abilities. When you push through mentally, your physical self will withstand anything that comes your way.
If you are ready to work hard, commit on a daily basis, continue to learn new things and listen to a mentor, you are on your way to becoming that person you are longing to become.
When I was a little girl my mum used to tell me that I can do anything I put my mind to. She would ask me to close my eyes and imagine that I have everything I ever wanted. At the time, of course I wanted the latest Barbie doll, a house for it and maybe some stylish clothes. We didn’t have much money so I was never up to date with the brands or the latest trends. Although most of my Barbies were the plastic fake kinds, I would always think they were the real deal, because all I need to do is image it and then believe it. Both my mum and grandmother used to sew outfits for them and my Barbies were the best dressed on the block. Every weekend, as a young girl I would go downstairs in the garden and hangout with the other kids from the block and we would sit on our blankets and play with our Barbies. We’d put on fashion shows and dress them up. The other kids would always want to borrow my Barbie’s clothes, even though they had the “cool” stuff the shops were selling. I never quite understood why, but I was a kid so it didn’t matter. When you’re young, you don’t over analyze everything and most importantly you just appreciate what you have.
It took me a long time to understand what my mother was trying to teach me. But as I grew older, actually now in my late 20’s, I am starting to see much clearer that what I want and what I have is a consequence of what I do. The reason for this is because I think about it so much, that no matter what I make it happen. I obsess over what I want in life and I take the action to make it happen. Regardless of the long hours required, or social gatherings I miss out on, my goals are worth it and that’s why I make them a priority. Sometimes you can get stuck in the idealization of what you want and unfortunately find out that you don’t have it no matter how much you devote your time thinking about it. But the reason for this is that you have to actually commit to the act of making it happen. It is not enough to believe to you can do something. Everything you want in life you can have, and I mean everything. You have the ability to create situations for yourself that you dream about, but remember that even with dreaming you must wake up from it at some point. And you have a choice. Everyday, from the moment you wake up until you go to sleep you have the opportunity to bring to life what you envision in your wildest dreams. People very often underestimate the power that they have. They think because they were not brought up in a certain environment or don’t have a particular amount of money things will not workout for them. Some people might even think they are not smart enough to be part of a professional space they want to be part of. But your brain is your most powerful tool. And as with everything that develops over time, you must give it the right thoughts in order for it to fully function at its full capacity.
This could take a long time, or it could be quite quick to grasp, but it all depends on you. If you really want to change your life, you must start with your pattern of thinking. When you believe that you can do it, and you actually start to put in the work towards it, you are definitely on your way. Garry V always speaks about the level of impatience that people have these days; that they manifest a thought and expect for the outcome to happen there and then. But all good things take time, and most importantly all things that are worthy require a process. Like in business, if you want to have a profitable ROI you must first create a strategy for it, followed by executing this and of course, you must give it time for it to evolve. The bigger the ROI, the more action you have to take. I’m not saying you have to plan every single moment, but you need to have a clear idea of what you are doing and how you measure its success.
Once you start to prioritise yourself and your goals you will begin to see small improvements in your mindset and this is where it all begins. When you devote time to grow and develop yourself, you will begin to see how worthy you are of so many things. Whatever you want to do with your life, you can do it. Success is within you, all you have to do is to map out the road to it and bring it to life.
I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes that has inspired me a lot over the years. Maybe it will work for you, maybe not, you decide. But find what inspires you, stop talking about it and start working towards it.
“Everybody wants to be successful until they realize what it takes”. Anonymous
In my most recent Toastmasters meeting I was asked to do a speech on a very interesting topic. “If you were an artist painting your life, what would its theme be?” In Toastmasters, you don’t get much time to think, you just have to get up and start talking. The whole point of it is to expand your creativity in a public speaking setting in front of a group of strangers that watch your every move and provide you with feedback in order to improve. It takes you completely out of your comfort zone being put on the spot in front of everybody and this is why improvement happens quickly if you take the opportunity.
There I was, the "stage" was mine and I was standing in front of everybody trying to come up with a theme. How could I make them understand my life theme, when I don’t even know it myself? As I began speaking, something completely took over me. I’m not sure if it was because of the dilemma of what I’ll actually say or that all my life dreams suddenly came to me, but I started speaking and I couldn’t stop. It was a revelation to me, an epiphany of what I had always considered, but never quite put it in a verbal form. And as I kept going on, speaking with my most utter truth, metaphorically referring to a painting, I saw the clearest picture of my life there and then. It was one of the most inspiring moments I had experienced in a long time and once I saw that, I knew exactly what I have to do. The road finally cleared itself of some of the road blocks I was unable to push through before.
Expressing yourself from the source, your deepest soul’s desires is where this question really sits. If you think about it, the answer is simple because it’s already inside of you. We all have an idea of what our life is about, but to think of a theme to describe it takes getting to know yourself and the process of where you are going. Every morning, we wake up and most of the time we function on auto pilot. And this happens every day without us realising it most of the time. But as I was there standing in front of everyone doing my speech, I finally realized that everything happening in my life is because I have created it because when you see the bigger picture you start seeing why you do the things you are currently doing. You hear motivational speakers and mentors who have reached their success speak about this, but you really need to experience something to wake you up and help put everything into perspective. Somebody’s words are simply not enough because what you think, believe and say is the most important. It is what will push you further. When you suddenly shake up your daily routine and add something you don’t normally do or think about, the comfort goes away and you start living with more purpose.
So my advice to you is to take a blank piece of paper and start creating an image of your life. It doesn’t have to make sense to anybody else, but yourself. Listen to your intuition but don’t think too much. Just start drawing or simply putting some colors together. The more you get into it, the more the answers will come to you. Do this when surrounded by nobody, with no external distractions (even music in the background, this is a time for you only). When you finally finish it, look at it and try to decipher what it really means for you and why it looks the way it does. I guarantee you that things will start making sense when you see the clear picture. It might not happen on the spot, but starting to question yourself about where in life you are vs where you are going is what is going to push you beyond your expectations and suddenly your road will slowly start clearing up.
You can do whatever you want with your life and most importantly choose who you want to be, but remember that you can really create a masterpiece if you really want to. Just as Michelangelo’s paintings inspired a whole world, your life and what you make of it could do the same. Live your masterpiece, you have the power to bring light on dark days and the possibility of adding colors to a blank canvas. Never stop feeling inspired and live your truth, by staying true to your theme.