I have started and stopped a lot of things in my lifetime. I have also spoken to many women like me, who too have started and stopped many things in life. What things you may ask? Tasks, strategies, objectives, and plans. Studies, relationships, businesses, and projects! Yes, as women, we do have a knack for starting stuff and perhaps not finishing. Let’s face it, life sorta just gets in the way and perhaps the needs of others become more important than our own. I have sat down, spent countless hours drafting plans and proposals, cut out pages of magazines to create vision boards, with a clearly timeline of what I would like to achieve and when.
Then something happened. Something or someone said it couldn’t be done and that was the end of that. But what if we spent our all lives listening to the naysayers and that voice whispering in our ears all the impossibilities that come with carrying any ambition. Which leads me to my musings for today.
“Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit”
- Ecclesiastes 7:8
I can testify to the beginning of a thing being perhaps the most difficult. We are conditioned to want quick results for our efforts yet the end goal may very well take years to manifest. Ask a mother what it took to raise her now grown kids or a wife what it has taken to keep her marriage intact for 20+ years and she will tell you all about toil! Ask a graduate student or a career professional how many hours it has taken them to attain success and they will have a thing or two to share! What I’m getting at is, before you give up on that thing you’ve been working towards over the past few weeks, months, or years, ask yourself why you got started in the first place.
Here are a few tips that help me keep things in perspective especially when things aren’t working out as I envisioned:
1. Plans should offer room to evolve
In the PR world, we often draft PR plans or strategies. By the time they are approved, they have gone through the ringer a couple of times, scrutinized and commented on by many, with some elements chucked out and other introduced. What am I getting at here? If you have a business selling shoes, allow room to introduce inventory that complements your shoes – purses, hats, scarves or whatever you choose. I know chefs who went from catering solely for weddings or working in a restaurant kitchen to offering private chef services and creating bespoke culinary concepts. Whatever your hustle is, understand that the cycle of your life changes, your customer profile changes, the world around you is evolving, and you have to be prepared to evolve with it. Before you throw in the towel on your ideas, ask yourself what you can do to improve it or who should you speaking to for new ideas. You’ll be amazed by what you can learn just by asking others doing what you are doing for tips on how to advance your game plan.
2. Make sure your goals are in sync with who you are and what makes you tick.
You know what? I didn’t always know what I wanted to do in life. In high school I took the sciences because I grew up hearing a lot of the “you will be a doctor” chatter. So I entered Varsity as a pre-med student and struggled, simply because being in a lab for hours on end wasn’t too thrilling for me – and the Chem classes?? No ma’am! (A huge shout out to all the ladies I know who are now medical practitioners, engineers and so on! y’all are incredible!)
I changed my major to business which allowed me to try out opportunities across a couple of industries before honing in on what I enjoy. 12+ years later and a couple of jobs across three continents, I can concretely tell you what I will and will not do no matter how much money I was offered to do it. I enjoy working with people and am not a cubicle sort of person. I do not like grappling for results, results of which lie in someone else’s hands - which is why I left sales earlier on and moved into marketing before evolving into Comms.
Some describe me as animated with a knack for using my words. I am a closet creative who loves listening to and learning from stories of people, brands and so on – so have over the years shaped my career in such a way that I still find inspiration in people and my surroundings at any given time, even in some of the least interesting of my projects. This same passion led me to co-founding Quintessential F, except it doesn’t feel like work because I’m very passionate about what we stand for – inspiring women through real stories and testimonies – our stories and testimonies.
3. Remember what it took to get you where you are today
Sometimes it doesn’t feel like you are going anywhere. Sometimes others seem to be reaching success at a faster rate than you are. Sometimes it feels like you don’t know what you are doing and this was a bad idea to begin with. Beloved, you won’t feel like a super hero on most days, but GOD’s strength is all the Bioplus and super vitamins you need to keep pushing. It took a lot of work to get where you are today, and will take a lot more work to get to where you want to be. What I do know is this, when you reach is goals and meet your targets, you won’t even remember what it was like. Like a mother in who has just endured nine months of pregnancy through to labour pains – the pain and discomforts are all forgotten when she lays her eyes on her baby for the first time.
4. It’s a process and there are processes
Of Rome not being built in a day? Yeah – that. There are no alternatives to working, but more work. To graduate, you gotta sit through class and be up all night cramming just so you can scrape the 50% mark for some or sail through all A’s for others. Those of you who got their driver’s licenses in Harare; do y’all remember the hectic state of driving through the likes of Chinhoyi Street or Kopje area – only to fail the test by hitting the drum? But that didn’t stop you did it. You needed that license so you drove to Chegutu or Karoi for that road test!
There is a process, and in that process there are processes. You will coast along the highway of life winning and overtaking others in some seasons, and in others you will be stuck in bumper to bumper traffic with no clear path in sight. You will experience every emotion from sheer exhilaration to total depression. But don’t quit. Allow yourself to feel what you need to, but always pick yourself and up and ready yourself for the next process, the next phase, the next step, the next task.
5. Never mind the naysayers; they are doing what they know how to – naysay…
This point really speaks for itself. There used to a jingle on V-103 – a radio station in Atlanta – that used to go on about letting your haters be your motivators. I used to hear it at least three times a day while stuck in traffic and it after a while, became engrained in me.
Not everyone will believe in what you are saying or doing. Not everyone will cheer you on from the sidelines. Some will try to derail you along the way or challenge your ideas, but that too is part of the process. What’s important is that you understand your truth and motivations for pursuing your particular goals. Success for others may not directly translate to success for you, which is why I made mention of the importance of pursuing something you believe speaks to your gifts and who you are. Armed with that, it won’t matter what others have to say because if it’s not you they are saying something about, it’s someone else.