Late last year, I attended an online event organised by one of my sisters, Olajumoke, for her unPolished Initiative. The three-hour plus zoom event was tagged, “The Other Half – The Untold Story about Success”.
It was my best three hours of that weekend and I spent it listening to both old and young Africans sharing the ugly truth about how they strived to be where they were against all odds. It was striking how very familiar the experiences shared were. Yes, the guests’ paths were different from one another, and from that of many other people I’ve heard before, but the story was the same.
Persons who fought against all odds to do and be what they wanted.
Persons who failed (multiple times) but rose up and kept pushing.
Persons who didn’t have it all figured out from the start but knew they wanted and were made for more, hence kept trying different things until one finally clicked.
Persons who were betrayed by those they least expected it from but shook it off and kept moving.
Persons who gave all up on the chance that they might make it on a new path.
And on and on…
Tell me, haven’t you heard such stories before? Of course, you have!
Howbeit, this wasn’t the part that got me thinking, but the realization that the only reason I got to hear the stories of these particular persons that day, from countries I may not be able to point to on a map, was because they pushed through.
They made the cut to be on that panel because they had grown as a person and in their field to the point where they can be called upon to share their stories as a motivation to others.
The lessons they shared with us that day were not new per se. I mean, can you even count how many times you’ve heard, “Don’t give up” , “Follow your dreams” , “Keep trying”, ” If at first you don’t succeed, try again”, “Consistency would surely pay off”, “You are the author of your own story”, ” Work smart”, “Save”, “Invest”, yadda yadda?
People have been learning and dishing out these lessons since time immemorial, but these ones got to share them because they are now “somebody”. Same thing applies to those invited to give TedTalks or authors you buy their books, seminars you pay to attend, and motivators you stalk online.
The point is, you won’t be called to share your story until you’ve made some remarkable achievements. Now, remarkable achievement is relative. It does not necessarily mean having millions in your accounts, driving the latest cars, wearing designers, or owning a multi-million dollar company. It basically means you are at a better place than you were yesterday, and constantly getting better than your previous version.
So, stop crying over what you can’t change; like, not being born with silver spoon, being a citizen of a third world country, horrible experiences from your past, who your parents are, what you wished you had to make your life a whole lot better and easier, or whatever.
Focus on you
Work on you
Face your journey
Accept that you’re on a different path
Pick yourself up each time you fall//fail
Dust it off and try again
And do it for yourself!
Because really, everyone is going through something and that’s why people don’t care about your story or struggle until they’ve seen you make some strides. They will only give you an audience when you have a glossy story, not while you’re still in the mud or during your tilling/planting phase.
Honestly, nobody cares about one more sad story that hasn’t got a happy ending, or a happy “how it’s going”, yet.