What are you working on?
I was confronted with this question by an advert whilst trying to catch up on some of my favourite YouTube channels. Whilst this would normally be a time of inconvenience as I wait for the obligatory 5-10 seconds to be over, this advert was different and I ended up watching the whole thing. The ad featured young tennis star, Emma Raducanu who reveals that she is working on “letting go of being perfect at all times” and “not being afraid to look bad in front of [herself]”. The relatability of this statement was enough for me to keep watching.
It turns out that the otherwise inconvenient ad is part of a series produced by Nike which follows successful people from the likes of Lebron James and Dina-Asher Smith to Meg Thee Stallion. Despite the notable achievements of the aforementioned, they are shown acknowledging areas where more work can be done – from putting themselves first and performing better in their profession, to impacting local communities. This revealed a number of things to me, three of which I thought would be worth sharing.
- Success is not a one-time event, like everything in life it requires maintenance through intentional acts.
One thing I noticed about the series is that it often reveals the process – the training sessions, rehearsals and meetings behind the professional’s success. This reminded me that success is not instantaneous nor is it permanent, rather it is produced through a process and maintained through intentional acts.
This debunks the idea of “effortlessness” which we feel especially pressured to portray in a social-media driven world. We are expected to produce quality outcomes whilst concealing the fact that the process was in fact effortful – a “no-makeup makeup” society is what I have come to call it. However, there is no shame in revealing that you had to try, which is something Taylor Swift puts so succinctly in her commencement speech at NYU. She says: “never be ashamed of trying. Effortlessness is a myth”.
- It’s an exciting thing to be working on something.
Being confronted with the question what are you working on?, whilst feeling a little dragged, it was the good kind of dragging. I took it as a challenge – writing down things that I hope to start or improve on to become a more effective version of myself. For example, being consistent with this blog and not feeling pressured to reach perfection right away is one of them. There’s a lot of truth in the saying “you have to start from somewhere” as trying to be the best in your field right away can intimidate you from starting at all.
- Don’t let life do you, do life.
There is something quite empowering about taking inventory of the areas of your life you want to improve on. As I took inventory, it revealed the agency that I have over how my story goes. As the kids say, you are the main character! But you also have creative control – you can decide to change the things in your life that you don’t like, and you can start today.
Note to self:
Grab life by the reins. Don’t allow life to toss you about. It’s yours to shape accordingly through your decisions.
My hope is that these words inspire you to take inventory of the areas in your life you want to work on and become a more effective version of yourself. It really is an exciting thing to be working on something.
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