Have you ever looked around and thought that everyone else is getting older except you? Maybe it’s just me…
Next month I turn the big 4-0 and I have found myself spending more time reflecting on my life thus far and thinking about what I want my next 40 years to look like.
As a young 18-year-old entering the corporate world for the first time, I could not have imagined the journey my career has taken. Throw marriage and motherhood into the mix and I realise how incredibly blessed I am and often ask myself: how did I get here?!
At 18 years of age, the world was mine to conquer. I wanted it all; a career, marriage and motherhood and it all was going to happen. At that age you’re bullet proof.
I believe that anything is possible but I’m thankful for some wise people who have been able to give me sound advice and paint a more realistic picture of how success is achieved.
Here are 4 things I’ve learnt that have helped thus far:
1. Commit daily
“And, then one day… I will see the compounding results of a day well lived.”
There are no overnight successes! I love the Iceberg Illusion. People will see the success but they won’t see what it took to get there. The dedication, hard work, discipline, disappointment, failures, persistence and the sacrifice.
Success requires a commitment to make the most of every day. John Maxwell, in his book ‘Today Matters’, shares a list of things we can commit to, just for today. At the end of the list, it says “And, then one day… I will see the compounding results of a day well lived.”
That is success!
Like most 10-year-olds in the UK, my son dreams of being a professional footballer. I love that he says ‘when’ rather than ‘if’! For him, it’s only a matter of time until the dream becomes reality but his commitment is tested when he doesn’t want to go to training or is too tired to practise his skills. Big dreams require daily commitments.
2. Know the season you’re in
“For everything there is a season…”
I liken each stage of life to a season.
A couple of years ago, I met a young, successful executive. He was married with a young family and was struggling with how to be as successful at home as he was at work. It seemed that if his life at home was going well his work suffered and vice versa. My advice to him was ‘be content with the season you are in. Corporate success will come many times over your career but your kids are only young once’.
I got married at 21 years of age and started having children when I was 25 years of age. My season now is very different to what it was when my kids were toddlers. As they have grown up and become more self-sufficient, I have been able to focus more on my career.
I really don’t like the term ‘work/life balance’. For me, work is part of my life! I have many different responsibilities. How they are prioritised is determined by my current season.
When you know your season you can navigate effectively, so you stay on track to achieve your goals.
3. Stay teachable and keep dreaming
“The learning process continues until the day you die.” Kirk Douglas
We live in a world that changes daily. Technology is evolving so quickly that it’s sometimes hard to keep up. Market advances are rolled out. New political leaders are elected.
Every day holds a new adventure and an opportunity to learn something new. Whether the lesson comes in the form of a failure or a new concept to understand, learning is pivotal to success. I love learning, being challenged and stretch beyond my comfort zone. Be brave enough to have a go and if it doesn’t work then you can try something else.
When one dream is realised have another one to pursue. There is always someone that needs what you can offer. Mentor someone, volunteer at a charity, learn another language. The sky is the limit.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” Harriet Tubman
4. Enjoy the journey
“Being Present is a selfless activity, you are not present until others say you are.” Simon Sinek
My colleague, Cath, wrote a blog on mindfulness, which I loved. There are so many things that I do on auto-pilot and it was a nice reminder to be present and enjoy each moment.
Let’s not be so busy planting that we forget to smell the roses. Celebrate successes, mourn losses, give priority to the things that matter and will last.
My daughter is about to turn 15. In a few years, she will be off to begin her own adventure that will look different to mine and my husband’s. For now, I am going to enjoy every moment we have with her at home.
Our journeys are never just for us, it’s more fun when we take people with us.
Success can take on many forms but, for me, it’s about having a dream and committing daily to seeing that dream become reality, being present and content in my current season, remaining teachable and enjoying the journey!!
Emma Aylett – Client Engagement, Strategic Partnerships & Operations