We often hear “I want to be successful” listed by most as one of their aspirations in life, putting aside how broad that term can be or how the definition of success varies from one person to the next; do you think any of these people have stopped to ask themselves whether they truly believe they are actually capable of being successful?
I sat sharing my resolutions and goals for the year with a friend, a couple of January’s ago. I went on to share how anxious I felt, with how big my dreams were and how even if I don’t quite reach them, I would be happy with where I land up. I was going on and on and when I took a breathe and asked for their thoughts. I didn’t expect they would say “hmmm, do you really believe you’ll be successful this new path you’ve carved out”?
Bewildered at such a question, I obviously asked what he meant with such a question, because I indeed believed I would succeed, otherwise why would I even bother. My friend went on to recount the numerous times my words had not aligned with those of a person that had resolved or believed they were capable of achieving success; quoting me saying things like “I don’t know if this will even work, but I just need to give it a try” and ”you know what they say, aim for the stars and if you land on the moon, you’re still ok” and “I’m no expert, but I’m sure I could earn a decent living from it”. I cringed. He went to ask why I limited myself in this way and saying how I could in fact become an expert and earn whatever I want.
“This really brought to light how I could have been standing in my own way for the longest time.”
We do this often. Downplay our capabilities, second guess and limit ourselves. It’s almost become a norm to dim one’s light for some reason. Ask yourself this, the last time you started something new and challenging, did you doubt your capabilities, running through the many hurdles ahead that might cause you to fail; or did you psych yourself up with bold words of encouragement? I have since learnt the true power of words, especially those we say to ourselves. We are often our harshest critic, and this caused me to be intentional with becoming my biggest cheerleader and source of encouragement.
That mental shift changed my life!
I went from second-guessing myself, to intentionally speaking words that affirmed what I believed and wanted to build and become. It’s not easy, being on guard of your words and constantly catching yourself out, but it’s necessary and has been worth it.
The tongue has infinite power to manifest what is spoken, but its not as easy as just saying something and thinking it will come to be. You need to follow through with action. Just do the few things daily, that will get you closer to where you aim to be.
“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe!”
That is how I managed to build myself up to become the knowledgeable digital marketing strategist I now am, working with brands across Africa. I work through my digital marketing agency Afredigital, whose work focuses on helping brands across Africa, best use their social media platforms by helping them make connections with customers, that will be moved to act. We help them create content, campaigns, etc. that are relevant to their target audience, emotive or engaging and stands out in a way that imprints their brand into the mind of that consumer.
My aim is to elevate the digital presence of brands in Africa, to that of their global counterparts, to one day break through the boundaries and limitations of borders and help facilitate more global expansion. Seeing African brands go global is a great passion of mine, and my platform AFRENAI aims to bridge that very gap.
What I believe is most notable with this story, is how that friend was crucial in my making this pivotal realization. It highlights the importance of having people around you that can be frank with you. Not those that will merely stroke your ego or cheer you on when things are great; but those that will hold up a mirror for you to take an honest hard look at yourself when necessary. Interestingly, that friend has now become the man I am madly in love with, after about 14 years of friendship, we woke up to realize how we work well as more than friends, but that is a story for another day. Today, ask yourself this, are the people you have around you uplifting you and challenging you to constantly better yourself?
PS: I did in fact land on the moon but refused to settle there and continue to aim for the stars daily.
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Header: Photography by Tegan Smith (@tegansmithphotography)
Footer: Photography by Enock Predestine (@emp_cyclone)