I’ve been coming across some interesting articles and motivational speeches lately. All providing me with about 64 ways to be(come) successful. And if I’m lucky, I find one that claims following all of their steps will guarantee success in all areas of my life.

But one thing I’ve noticed with these steps to success preachings, is that none of them start off with defining success. And even if they choose not to because the explaination in Websters dictionary is too broad or too plain, why don’t they start off by telling us what success means to them? Wouldn’t it be far more logical to tell me what my goal is exactly so that I can understand the steps you are asking me to take?

At the age of 16 I completed a 4 year course in marketing and communications when my (single) mother lost her high paying job. She quickly found herself surrounded by dept and wouldn’t have a stable income for years to come. Since I was already working part time after school from the age of 13, now being 16 I decided to start working full-time to pay the bills.

Getting a full time job was easy, I had built up quite some work experience after all. And even though I wanted to continue studying to fulfill my family’s dreams of becoming either a doctor or a lawyer, I felt responsible for our household now. So I worked at an insurance company for some time and later on became the youngest insurance advisor at that firm. I then switched to a multinational company, also in insurance, and was named employee of the year that same year again being the youngest to have been awarded that title in the firm. It was during this time that I started wanting more and more. I wanted to do better, I wanted to grow faster. I wanted to be a success. But I didn’t have a university degree yet. Fortunatly my work spoke for itself, even though the position I was holding at the time required one. I still felt as though all I had accomplished so far was nothing without that piece of paper on the wall.

I was turning 19 now and had been able to provide enough income for the 3 of us to live on. I decided that if I wanted to be content with myself, I’d have to sacrifice saving for my own place and car and what not, and get into a university first. I knew I couldn’t quit my job as my income was basically all we had. So I enrolled in a dual course. I would work from Monday to Friday and go to school for an entire Saturday while working on and preparing for all my papers every night. I figured getting a higher paying job would be ideal and as fate would have it, I got that higher paying job at the bank. And though it was much more demanding than my previous jobs, I had made up my mind to get my degree no matter what.

Fast forward to today. I completed that course, went on to work at several different companies and got my MBA somewhere in between. Then for a very long time, I was determined to pursue my PhD as well. Until I realized something. All those years of wanting to be the best, wanting those degrees. Were really based on my misguided understanding of success. Why do I say that? Well, I believe in education and being the best in whatever you do. But…

Lets just say that If I could speak to my 13 year old self right now, I would tell her that she was already great working part time while going to school even if it was just for fun. And she would have been equally as great just going to school alone. I would tell my 16 year old self that it would have been OK to let the grown-ups help us out too. I would say to 18 year old me that being the best you can be is really good enough. And I now tell myself everyday, that no piece of paper will ever help me accomplish more than what I believe I can accomplish myself.

And so, I never kept track of the number of steps I took to get me where I am today. And I really don’t need to. Waking up and being able to smile even without reason, to me is success. Loving your child the best way you know how, to me is success. Being there for your spouse when you have nothing else to give, to me is success. Finally taking some time off and jumping into that pool, to me is success. Heck, i’d say setting that cup of coffee all by yourself is a success.

So today I dare you, don’t count your steps. Count your Blessings, because success is you.


14 Comments Add yours

  1. Jay Colby says:

    Great post very inspiring!


  2. Veracious Poet says:

    This is a very inspiring post.


    1. Dixi says:

      Thank you, glad to hear that!


      1. Veracious Poet says:

        I have been coming back to this post. Though I also did some work while still schooling, I can’t imagine under what circumstances I will ever allow my 13 year old daughter to work. She is simply too young and will likely be taken advantage of. I’m curious about how the whole situation affected your perception of the world. It must have been difficult to process then.


      2. Dixi says:

        I think I depends on the environment you live in. Yes 13 is young, but thats why you were only allowed to do certain jobs until the age of 16. The amount of hours, minimum pay and working conditions are all very strictly regulated down here. It’s only when you go for the black market jobs that the risk of being taken advantage becomes a real possibility. So this initself was not uncommon. I honestly did not know any better than seeing a young single mother work 2 jobs at a time, only to come home to cook and clean, taking us on trips and buying us everything we needed without complaining. This made me want to take care of the family I loved as well. Even though I might have missed out on some childhood memories that others did get to have, I’m grateful that I was able to learn about responsibility at such a young age because it truly worked to my advantage later on.


      3. Veracious Poet says:

        Here, the conditions of work is unfavourable for children so I was a little concerned for you. I worked too but in my mother’s store. I also traded on my own when I was about 14. Sometimes I made greeting cards and sold them in school. In high school, I bought a manual camera and become a photographer. I have no doubt your experience worked to your advantage because those things introduce you to the real world early. Although in my case I suffered some traumatic incidences of violence as well. But I believe in the end it all makes you stronger and more focused. I don’t know much about you but from what you said, I sincerely think you are great because you made it all the way to an MBA degree while still working. Hmmm!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Dixi says:

        I know it wouldn’t have been the same had I tried this in Ghana, which by the way is my fathers homecountry, and I travel to every year. Like you said, conditions here made it possible for me to start working that young. I can see that you have a kind of entrepreneurial spirit in you, probably why you were able to start that Ads company some time ago. I’m sure you will make an excellent professor too!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Veracious Poet says:

        Does that mean you will come to Ghana this year? Do you still have or know some family here? Forgive my curiosity but there is a lot I want to know about you. I currently work in a private university which I may have mentioned before. I like academia because I’m inclined towards that area and I know I can go far but deep down I also know that I will be more fulfilled if I was simply in charge of myself. Like all artists, I’m more passionate when working with my own ideas. By nature I don’t like being told what to do. I hope I’m making sense. I’m currently pursuing my masters in management infosystems at the University of Reading in Ghana, while still working full time like you did. When do you normally do your annual travels to Ghana?


      6. Veracious Poet says:

        Wait! you have a house? for real? Why are you so great! But honestly I’m a little intimidated. Just a few days ago I called and spoke to a real estate agent because I was thinking of signing up for a piece of land for future building, in the event that I start a family, not something big, just one plot. Anyway congratulations! I don’t know what to say.

        By the way the full name of my degree programme is Management Information Systems, which is part of a strategic management component of a business. In very broad terms it’s the study of people, technology and organisations. It underpins all electronic transactional processing systems.


      7. Dixi says:

        Haha you’re funny. Yes I’ve built a house which I’ve been renting out and have some plots left for future buildings. Getting your own plot might be a good idea yes! Are you planning to start a family with somebody anytime soon then?


      8. Veracious Poet says:

        There is this girl I’m crazy about. I think I discussed her with you already. She is dark and lovely and has a beautiful smile, I can’t wait to hold her hands. I want to date her for a few weeks and then marry her if everything works out. I really don’t know her mind though.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Dixi says:

        Crazy about, really? You would marry her after a few weeks? She must have made a very sure impression on you then. I can’t speak for anyone but it sounds lovely if she feels the same way for you guys to work out. I’m sure you know at least she has feelings for you too from the way you speak about her. I think she might even be a little crazy about you too. But what would I know…

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Veracious Poet says:

        Yes, she has expressed feelings for me but there are a few things we have to go through. I have read her thoughts, I have seen her, now I want to experience who she is, and I only need a couple of weeks to experience her. If what we feel for each other is real and deep and strong which I believe it is, things will happen naturally.

        Liked by 1 person

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