What Does Success Look Like?

We need a much broader representation of what success looks like.

her own lane
Photo by Evie Shaffer on Unsplash

Yesterday I took my daughter to a new hair salon, and ended up having an interesting conversation with the hairstylist. She pulled out the trusty “what do you do?” question to make conversation and we ended up sharing stories of our escape from the corporate world.

The corporate world is not everybody’s lane. Some people, like me and the hairstylist, are not meant for it. It does however become hard to leave when you appear to be succeeding. If you’ve been stuck as an intern for a decade, it is clear to all that this is not your lane and often comes as a relief to loved ones when you throw in the towel.

However,  if like me you were the marketing manager of the biggest music station in the country at the tender age of 26, and you proceeded to climb that corporate ladder with ease, it is much harder for others to see when it is just not your lane. You appear as an impetuous and spoiled child for wanting to get off it, especially if you have adult responsibilities like children, school fees, black tax, etc.

Subtly or overtly those close to you put pressure on you to remain in that position of “success”. I’ve found that people have to manifest illnesses (myself included) or retrenchments to allow themselves an escape free of the judgment of others.

I don’t know what the hairstylist was like as a corporate executive, she says her adrenals packed up, but she sure looks fulfilled in her rickety hair salon, with chickens and her home schooled son roaming happily and freely about.

I don’t need to tell you that board meetings are overrated, but so are giant corner offices.

I didn’t attribute this quote because I couldn’t determine who it belongs to. I’d love to know who wrote/said it.

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