In an era where Success is portrayed as easy to reach and resumed to Wealth, it can be difficult to evaluate our level of success when it is not associated with a "dollar" sign. With the vulgarization of the Internet and the influence of Social media, we can quickly begin to question if we really are successful even when we are.
Although there are common grounds and universal principles that can be helpful to reach a certain level of success we aim for, I believe because each individual has a different socio-cultural background and available resources, many factors make our story unique therefore almost impossible to put it all in one pot and rigidly define what Success should mean to you and I. If the definition of success can vary from one individual to another so should the way we evaluate how successful we are.
Hopefully, if we can all agree that financial autonomy is essential to living a successful life, being able to provide for ourselves and our family is truly at the heart of the matter. The pressure is definitely on when it comes to finding a lucrative profession in order to care for those we love. This pressure is even more felt for some categories of immigrants, single parents, people with disabilities, minorities … basically anyone who, for any reason, believes that they are entering the labor market with a ‘’ disadvantage’’. Unfortunately, we live in a world that is not always fair and it can be discouraging for many to even believe that they can ever be successful. It still is a journey for me but here are four points that have changed my perspective, I thought will be helpful to share.
1-God is the opportunity provider
''Is there something good out there for me and how can I access it?'' is a question that haunted me for many years. As a first-generation immigrant, coming from the Francophone West-Africa to an Anglophone province, I always felt the pressure to be successful in order to survive. Becoming a single parent with full custody, made it even worse to a point where I was ready to go back home and give up on my dreams. During that difficult time, I started to read out loud some bible verses, God's promises regarding securing a good future and taking care of me. Immigrant or not He has given me the authority to speak his promises into existence. I began to feel empowered and this belief is now anchored in my heart. No matter what happens, I know that God’s standards prevail over Society’s standards. He sees for who I am and how valuable I can be to a company!
2-Know your skills & abilities and acquire new ones
Getting an education is important. Although, I am fortunate to have a postsecondary degree still, I felt as if it was not enough because in my culture people will only consider you successful when you have at least a Ph.D. and a long cohort of degrees. So every time I was rejected for a job, I would blame my lack of high education and beat myself down ...
Sometimes life ''happens'' but we have to find ways to keep moving toward the goals we've set for ourselves and efficiently use the tools we have for now. I had to learn how to sell myself on a resume and during job interviews. This is a very hard exercise and takes a complete self-assessment and analysis of the employment market you’re looking to enter. From technical to leadership and relational skills, there are numerous online tools and free resources to help you dig deep and find out more about yourself, you don't even know yet.
Be ready to learn and believe me, our brain is able to retain new information like a sponge when it is conditioned too. Looking back, I am amazed at all the new skills I was able to acquire outside of the University. Even if the Syndrome of the imposter can make you feel otherwise, remember: you got this!
3-Draft a professional plan and make connections
This is the base to everything we want to accomplish in life. We can draft a life plan and have it divided into many areas ( professional, financial, relational....), sit and write it all down with dates, salary expectations, industry and what it will take in terms of education, experience, leadership skills...At this point, working with a coach is definitely a great option, I would recommend if you can. This exercise is not about rigidity but clarity as the plan can always be readjusted.
It is also important to extend your professional network and platform in order to create meaningful connections. For example, volunteering is a good way to grow connections and work on having a « servant attitude » even as a leader. If Jesus could wash the feet of his disciples, humility is a quality, employers appreciate and a good attitude is key. I have often heard people say, they would rather hire and train someone with a good attitude and some potential than someone who has all the required skills but is difficult to work with.
4-"No" is just an answer
Now, this is the hardest part especially if someone is being a victim of an injustice. Even if there are institutions that can help with taking legal actions in such circumstances, unfortunately, it can be very difficult to prove Discrimination. If you've experienced it, I strongly encourage you to speak out and contact the appropriate office but do not let this experience stop you from believing in Success. Maybe there are other legitimate reasons behind the denial, go back and work on your resume, extend your search to other industries or start your own business; always remember point one: God is the provider of opportunity.
At the end of the day, for me, Success is not about chasing after money, fame or external validation. If having a warm meal on the table every day, some clothes to wear, education for your children and be surrounded by loved-ones is not seen as being successful for me it is!
Do not let anyone impose you on what success should mean to you and sell you a dream that will destroy your relationships, self-love, and peace...You will never be satisfied if you lose sight of what is really important for you, in this one life you got.
You are blessed and successful in your own way. Don’t give up and keep working on your goals; slowly but surely you will get there.
Do you want to share other points? or your journey to success? Feel free to share.
Bye for now!