Tag Archives: gratitude

The elephant effect: the tenth one is not a dime less spectacular than the first one

In 2010 my future husband and myself were working on a project in South Africa. After the project was completed we seized the moment and travelled along the Garden Route from Cape Town to Port Elisabeth. Our final eastward destination was the Ado Elephant park – an amazing safari place, where one can see wildlife in all its beauty. As the name has it, there are a lot of elephants there.

I recall our first photo of an elephant Continue reading The elephant effect: the tenth one is not a dime less spectacular than the first one

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“Who helped you?” Success is always a team sport.

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants (Sir Isaac Newton)

There was a thought-provoking article in “The Financial Times” this Monday called “Who helped you get where you are today, and why?“. The author, Margaret Heffernan, talks about her favorite interview question, which, if not answered, acts as an obstacle for moving further with a candidate. This question, which she puts also in the title, is: “Who helped you in your career?”. Surprisingly, a lot of people are unable to answer this question, attributing their success exclusively to their own efforts and brilliance. Even though, without the latter you cannot get far either. She rightly points that: Continue reading “Who helped you?” Success is always a team sport.

Protecting wings from being cut

While browsing through my Facebook I stumbled upon an interesting question posed in one of the groups – “Who is cutting your wings?”. Replies split almost equally between those who were blaming themselves and those who identified some external sources of influence: like a husband, family, friends, colleagues. It made me think about dreams, about identifying them in the first place and daring to follow them. And about all those moments when you are so inspired and uplifted, yet all your enthusiasm is crushed like a bug on the ground by someone whose opinion you value. Those moments when you feel good about yourself, but are made feel worthless; when you are, as Russians say, multiplied by zero; when your dreams are shattered and wings are cut…

… But let me start with identifying dreams first because “if one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable” (Seneca).

Long time ago when I was something like 17 or 18 years old (damn, I am old!) inspired by the movie “The Secret” I made my first list of wishes, hopes and dreams. There were 100 items from all possible categories starting with things I want, moving onto experiences I want, even places I would like to visit. Dreaming without any limitations, without thinking whether you can afford that, whether you are physically or mentally capable of doing that at the moment – dreaming without analyzing. I remember that it was fairly simple to write down the first 50 items or so, yet to reach the number 100 it took me almost a week. I looked at my old list couple of months ago and  – it’s almost complete! Some items were scratched off because I don’t want them anymore, however the majority of my wishes and dreams has actually realized. In the hindsight there were quite a few items in that list that back then were simply impossible for this or that reason: like going to China or learning to play golf, or studying abroad or having “Manolo Blahnik” shoes. Guess what: I went to China as part of my MBA studies (done abroad), I learned to play golf last summer and pretty much like in “Sex and the City” my husband proposed me putting on beige “Manolo Blahnik” shoes on my feet.

Few yet unrealized items are now transferred to my “Life plan” – which is an extensive list divided in 6 categories covering all the main aspects of my life – lifestyle, health, emotional well-being, financials, personal development and vocation and family (I will talk about how to write it in one of the future posts). Yes, a bit insane, I know. However, knowing precisely what I would like in my life and with my life creates a good focus. Just for a giggle – if tomorrow I am going to win “Euromillions” then I know precisely where and how I will spend that money. Yet also if it never happens I am pretty convinced that somehow there will be a way to get everything that I want. Even (and maybe especially) if I don’t see that way at this moment in time.

Now after dreams are identified comes a more difficult part – daring to follow your dreams and this is where wings are often cut

I am lucky to be supported at all times by at least one person in whatever crazy initiatives I would like to pursue. I always believed in myself but for success it is psychologically important to have or find that other person who also believes in you no matter what. When I was growing up I always had my mother by my side. My mother has never questioned my dreams, never put me down saying that something is not possible and or is not for me. She never reminded me of past failures. She inspired me and lifted me up when I felt down. She was there for me when after the first course at a law faculty I decided to switch from a full-time to a part-time program because I believed that if I work simultaneously I will achieve more. I remember a lot of friends at that moment saying that I am making a mistake, killing my inspiration and enthusiasm about actual legal job with comments like: “in this way you are going to fail your studies and are not going to get far anyway”. I graduated with 7,62 on 10, having four years of legal experience including representation before the court behind my belt. The same repeated when I quit my job and decided to do an MBA. I have been told by almost everyone around me that I was making a huge mistake, that I am jeopardizing my future, that I will regret and that I will never be admitted to the business school anyway, yada yada yada. And once again, my mother was there for me, protecting my wings from being cut. I have several stories like that where only with a support of my mother, with her unconditional belief in me that I succeeded, and I am eternally grateful to her for that.

This type of support is what I hope to be able to give my kids as well – to be there for them to protect their wings from being cut.

 

P.S. It is easier when you are supported, I understand. But even if you don’t have that person or people that believe in you at this moment, at least don’t betray yourself – don’t give up on yourself! Ever. There was a great quote by Walt Disney (yeah, a second quote in a short text, but it somehow fits) –

“If you can dream it, you can do it!”

– So don’t stop dreaming! Believe in yourself and your dreams! And go for them! You will find the ones who will support you along the way!