Taking The Road Less Travelled
Has the time come to redefine success?
After an incredibly inspiring conversation with my friend, Tambo, a tweet he had posted recently stuck with me and this was how it ended…
“I came to the conclusion I'd rather be unknown to the masses but [known] in my place of influence and significance, than known and not having real impact or influence”.
It sparked a trail of thought in my head that was based around something I had spoken about recently on social media. I’d mentioned that I’m not driven by chart position or analytics, but success to me was seeing the people that I respect and care about enjoying and taking value from my work. After hearing Tambo’s take on his own words, it encouraged me to question why I feel the way that I do about success not only from my creative endeavours, but life itself?
We live in a time where we both have the most access to analytics we’ve ever had whilst also having the most information withheld from us at the same time. The best example of this would be musicians and how many people are listening to their music. You can go on Spotify and type any artists name and instantly be shown what their most streamed songs are and how many monthly listeners they have, and yet most of us have no idea what each stream is worth to Spotify as a business.
So, when I think of trying to set numerical goals for my podcast, Guards of Eden or this newsletter, Love to Think, I could pick random targets to reach, but I don’t know the tangible value of hitting those goals. If I tell myself I want 100 subscribers on this newsletter and I get there, what makes me any more successful than I was when I went from 98 to 99 subscribers? I feel like we’re seduced by the amount of information that’s available to us and we then allow ourselves to equate success and more importantly failure by those numbers. Numbers that we still don’t know the true value of.
I do my best to celebrate those victories for other people when it comes to topping charts, hitting numerical targets for projects/pieces of content as I appreciate that I may be in the minority when it comes to my perception of charts, awards and follower/stream/engagement/view numbers. I believe that if you’re able to use those achievements for motivation then more power to you!
I’ve seen people held hostage by a sudden increase in followers. Feeling pressure, stress and worry to provide more because they have X amount of followers on Instagram all of a sudden. Operating under the fear of people (mostly strangers) clicking a button labelled “Unfollow”. People who love you, support you and want you to win will be there for you. I’m not saying they’ll always agree with you, but they’ll more than likely be willing to stick by you through the mistakes along the way. I mean, why does that person that you know from back in the day (who you didn’t really like) then get to effect you emotionally because they unfollowed you on Instagram?
There’s an element of this that I need to be aware of. My work has never been on a chart of any sort and I don’t have thousands/millions of people listening or reading to my work, so I don’t know what it feels like to be celebrated by masses. What I can say is that people that I have love for, who know me outside of Guards of Eden and Love to Think have told me that they enjoy what I do and it’s impacted their life; I know that has and will continue to motivate me to carry on. That doesn’t get old and it’s always meant more to me than the number of views or streams.
Relationship Therapist, Speaker and Author, Esther Perel has a beautiful quote that I would like to share with you:
“Ultimately at the end of your life, if people commend you, they will say what a wonderful human being you were… it won’t be the fact the fact that you had a big bank account, it really won’t. It will be about how you treated the people around you and how you made them feel”.
So, I say all of that to say this. In a world where being known to the masses and topping the charts is considered success, allow yourself the time to question whether that’s what you want. It’s completely okay if it is. It’s also okay to focus on being a person of influence in the rooms that you sit in, whilst impacting the people that you care about. In my opinion, you owe yourself an understanding of what you REALLY want from your work and your life in order to determine what success means to you.
One love, Luca :) x.
Today’s Song of Inspiration
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